The European Commission announced on Wednesday that it had simplified rules on state aid, in order to facilitate public investments in airports and ports towards job creation and growth.
The new regulations foresee that governments notify the bloc’s executive Commission before proceeding with public investment plans to guarantee healthy competition.
“We want to ensure that companies can compete on equal terms in the single market – and we want to do so in the most efficient way,” said Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner in charge of competition policy.
EU member state governments will now be able to make investments in existing regional airports that handle up to 3 million passengers per year without first having to undergo EU scrutiny. According to the Commission, that will cover over 420 airports.
EU states will be allowed to invest up to 150 million euros in sea ports and 50 million euros in inland ports without EU involvement.
“EU state aid rules are the same for all member states. Today’s changes will save them time and trouble when investing in ports and airports, culture and the EU’s outermost regions, whilst preserving competition. They also allow the Commission to focus attention on state aid measures that have the biggest impact on competition in the single market, to be ‘big on big things and small on small things’ to the benefit of all European citizens,” said Commissioner Vestager.
In the meantime, the Commission is also loosening rules on state aid for culture and sports arena projects.