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New R&D&I state aid Framework

The European Commission adopted new rules that should facilitate the granting of aid measures by Member States in support of research, development and innovation (R&D&I) activities.

The new R&D&I state aid Framework sets out the rules under which Member States can grant state aid to companies to carry out R&D&I activities. Moreover, the scope of measures that no longer need to be notified to the Commission for prior approval has been widened under the new General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). These new rules will help Member States reach the targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, while at the same time limiting distortions in the Single Market.

The EU aims to increase R&D spending to 3% of GDP with the goal to boost economic growth. However, EU R&D spending is still lagging behind major global competitors such as the US or Japan, mainly due to lower levels of private investment. The new rules aim to ensure that public money is used where it is needed and that state aid fosters private investment in projects that would otherwise not be implemented, while preserving competition in the Single Market. They will also facilitate the transition of knowledge and ideas to the market.

The EU’s R&D&I state aid rules are set out in two complementary texts: the new GBER, which also covers other types of state aid and sets out the conditions under which state aid may be granted without prior notification to the Commission, and the new Framework, which in turn, sets out the criteria under which the Commission will assess R&D&I aid measures which have to be notified by Member States because they have a higher potential for distorting competition.

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