Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Local and regional governments as service providers

De minimis state aid - 15.07.2006

CEMR welcomes the Commission's proposal but calls for clarifications
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) welcomes the European Commission's proposal to double the threshold from which state aid must be notified to the European Commission. The doubling (2 x 100,000 €) must however follow the inflation rate and on an annual basis.
In the current regulation, de minimis state aid covers any aid granted by a Member State to a company where the amount does not exceed € 100,000 over a three-year period (cash grant or equivalent). This aid, where the amount involved is small, is accordingly exempt from the competition rules and does not have to be presented to the Commission for agreement. At local and regional level, aid - for instance to small and medium sized companies (SME) - is frequently provided and is therefore a matter of great significance to local and regional authorities.

CEMR also asks the Commission to clarify its position on public guarantees (aids to support for example restructuring or to encourage the development of SMEs). In one of its amendments concerning the scope of the regulation, the Commission intends to exclude aid in the form of guarantees unless the total value of the transaction in question does not exceed the ceiling of the threshold. CEMR believes this wording is not very clear and seeks clarification from the Commission.

CEMR believes that small-scale guarantees to SMEs can play a useful and efficient role without having a major impact on the internal market. We therefore do not wish to see small guarantee's aids excluded from the scope of the de minimis rules.
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