The proposed changes to the General Block Exemption, (Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014, abbreviation GBER), are wide-ranging and its significance is large.
According to data from the European Commission, approximately 97 per cent of all new support measures are implemented under the auspices of GBER. The acquis establishes the framework for member states’ scope to stimulate green investment and the adoption of tax measures to enable the combination of an ambitious climate policy and continued competitiveness for European business.
It is important to avoid creating competition distortions between companies from different member states and ensure that aid is allocated to appropriate types of investment. This should result in investment that would not otherwise have been made and where additional private investment is created as a result of aid, rather than being squeezed out. This must also be done with the greatest possible degree of predictability and legal certainty for the companies involved, and with the least possible administrative costs.
There is no reason that more than 97 per cent of support measures are implemented under GBER. It is important that the rules continue to set a clear and strict framework for support measures taken by member states. State aid often leads to distortions in competition, which can damage the market’s natural mechanisms that drive increased efficiency and innovation in the longer term. State aid is seldom evaluated sufficiently thoroughly, and knowledge of the effectiveness of aid is often lacking as a result.
Swedish Enterprise therefore advocates measures that support all companies through, for example, reduced costs, improved regulation, and investment in better education and general infrastructure. Such measures typically do not distort the market and can result in lasting positive effects for business.
Overall, Swedish Enterprise believes that the focus on the Commission’s proposed updating of the regulations is reasonable, subject to the comments in the attached position paper.