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State Aid Guidelines

New study makes proposals to square guidelines with Europe 2020 strategy


The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament today published the first results of a commissioned study, by think tank E3G, on the EU's state aid guidelines. The results, presented in a briefing paper, come at an important time as the European Commission is preparing to review the guidelines on state aid.

Reinhard Bütikofer, industrial policy spokesperson for the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament comments:

"The EU's review of the state aid guidelines must ensure that they end up singing from the same hymn sheet as the Europe 2020 strategy. This study makes a valuable contribution, providing clear proposals on how to bring the guidelines in line with Europe's medium to long-term energy and climate targets.

"Most important would be creating a block exemption for all energy efficiency schemes within the Member States' Energy Efficiency Action Plans as well as making state aid compatible with renewable energy support incentives as part of a clear renewables strategy.

"Current deliberations on limiting state aid for renewables and paving the way for nuclear subsidies are not in line with the strategic goals the European Union has set and would push the state aid guidelines out of kilter."

Nick Mabey, CEO of E3G added:

"State Aids regulation must focus on those schemes that are most harmful to consumers and European competitiveness and not discourage effective investment in the ecological transformation of the European economy. Solving climate change will require more government intervention in markets. If State Aids policy tries to micro-manage this process it will be overwhelmed, resulting in delays which will raise costs to consumers and slow European growth.

"Radically simplifying the State Aids rules for major energy efficiency schemes will encourage Member States to allocate funds to investments which lower bills, create jobs and reduce EU exposure to global oil prices. 

"Revision of State Aid guidelines should also actively encourage the creation of vibrant new markets in electricity demand reduction, renewable energy and resource efficiency.  State Aids disciplines should focus on reducing the power of incumbent fossil fuel dependent businesses rather than seeking to impose arbitrary disciplines on technology support mechanisms for renewable energy."