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EUROPEAN 
 COMMISSION 
Brussels, 28.6.2013  
C(2013) 3769 final 
  
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION 
Guidelines on regional state aid for 2014 - 2020  
(Text with EEA relevance) 
{SWD(2013) 214 final} 
{SWD(2013) 215 final}
 
EN    EN 

 
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION 
GUIDELINES ON REGIONAL STATE AID FOR 2014 - 2020 
INTRODUCTION 
1. 
On the basis of Articles 107(3)(a) and (c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the 
European Union (TFEU), the Commission may consider compatible with the internal 
market State aid to promote the economic development of certain disadvantaged 
areas within the European Union1. This kind of State aid is known as regional aid.  
2. 
In these guidelines, the Commission sets out the conditions under which regional aid 
may be considered to be compatible with the internal market and establishes the 
criteria for identifying the areas that fulfil the conditions of Articles 107(3)(a) and (c) 
of the Treaty. 
3. 
The primary objective of State aid control in the field of regional aid is to allow aid 
for regional development while ensuring a level playing field between Member 
States, in particular by preventing subsidy races that may occur when they try to 
attract or retain businesses in disadvantaged areas of the Union, and to limit the 
effects of regional aid on trade and competition to the minimum necessary. 
4. 
The objective of geographical development distinguishes regional aid from other 
forms of aid, such as aid for research, development and innovation, employment, 
training, energy or for environmental protection, which pursue other objectives of 
common interest in accordance with Article 107(3) of the Treaty. In some 
circumstances higher aid intensities may be allowed for those other types of aid, 
whenever granted to undertakings established in disadvantaged areas, in recognition 
of the specific difficulties which they face in such areas2. 
5. 
Regional aid can only play an effective role if it is used sparingly and proportionately 
and is concentrated on the most disadvantaged regions of the European Union3. In 
particular, the permissible aid ceilings should reflect the relative seriousness of the 
problems affecting the development of the regions concerned. Furthermore, the 
advantages of the aid in terms of the development of a less-favoured region must 
outweigh the resulting distortions of competition4. The weight given to the positive 
effects of the aid is likely to vary according to the applied derogation of 
Article 107(3) of the Treaty, so that a greater distortion of competition can be 
                                                            

Areas eligible for regional aid under Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty, commonly referred to as 'a' areas, 
tend to be the more disadvantaged within the Union in terms of economic development. Areas eligible 
under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty, referred to as 'c' areas, also tend to be disadvantaged but to a 
lesser extent.  

Regional top-ups for aid granted for such purposes are therefore not considered as regional aid. 

Each Member State may identify these areas in a regional aid map on the basis of the conditions laid 
down in Section 5. 

See in this respect Case 730/79, Philip Morris [1980], ECR 2671, paragraph 17 and in Case C-169/95, 
Spain v Commission [1997], ECR I-148, paragraph 20. 

 

 
accepted in the case of the most disadvantaged regions covered by Article 107(3)(a) 
than in those covered by Article 107(3)(c)5.  
6. 
Regional aid can further be effective in promoting the economic development of 
disadvantaged areas only if it is awarded to induce additional investment or 
economic activity in those areas. In certain very limited, well-identified cases, the  
obstacles that these particular areas may encounter in attracting or maintaining 
economic activity may be so severe or permanent that investment aid alone may not 
be sufficient to allow the development of that area. Only in such cases may regional 
investment aid be supplemented by regional operating aid not linked to an 
investment.  
7. 
In the Communication on State aid modernisation of 8 May 20126, the Commission 
announced three objectives pursued through the modernisation of State aid control:  
(a)  to foster sustainable, smart and inclusive growth in a competitive internal 
market;  
(b)  to focus Commission ex ante scrutiny on cases with the biggest impact on the 
internal market while strengthening the cooperation with Member States in 
State aid enforcement;  
(c)  to streamline the rules and provide for faster decisions.  
8. 
In particular, the Communication called for a common approach to the revision of 
the different guidelines and frameworks with a view to strengthening the internal 
market, promoting more effectiveness in public spending through a better 
contribution of State aid to the objectives of common interest, greater scrutiny of the 
incentive effect, limiting the aid to the minimum, and avoiding the potential negative 
effects of the aid on competition and trade. The compatibility conditions set out in 
these guidelines are based on those common assessment principles and are applicable 
to notified aid schemes and individual aid. 
1. SCOPE AND DEFINITIONS 
1.1. 
Scope of regional aid 
9. 
Regional aid to the steel7 and synthetic fibres8 sectors will not be considered to be 
compatible with the internal market. 
10. 
The Commission will apply the principles set out in these guidelines to regional aid 
in all sectors of economic activity9, apart from the fisheries and aquaculture10, 
                                                            

See in this respect Case T-380/94, AIUFFASS and AKT v Commission [1996], ECR II-2169, 
paragraph 54. 

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European 
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of regions EU State Aid Modernisation (SAM), 
COM/2012/0209 final. 

As defined in Annex IV. 

As defined in Annex IV. 

Following the expiry on 31 December 2013 of the Framework on State aid to shipbuilding (OJ C 364, 
14.12.2011, p. 9.), regional aid to shipbuilding is also covered by these guidelines.  
10 
As covered by Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 of 17 December 1999 on the common 
organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products (OJ L 17, 21.1.2000, p. 22). 

 

 
agricultural11 and the transport sector12, which are subject to special rules laid down 
by specific legal instruments, which might derogate partially or totally from these 
guidelines. The Commission will apply these guidelines for processing and 
marketing of agricultural products into non-agricultural products. These Guidelines 
apply to aid measures supporting activities outside the scope of Article 42 of the 
Treaty but covered by the Rural Development Regulation and are either co-financed 
by the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development or are being granted as an 
additional national financing to such co-financed measures, unless sectoral rules 
provide for otherwise. 
11. 
These guidelines will not apply to state aid granted to airports13 or in the energy 
sector14.  
12. 
Regional investment aid to broadband networks may be considered compatible with 
the internal market if, in addition to the general conditions laid down in these 
guidelines, it complies also with the following specific conditions: (i) aid is granted 
only to areas where there is no network of the same category (either basic broadband 
or NGA) and where none is likely to be developed in the near future; (ii) the 
subsidised network operator offers active and passive wholesale access under fair 
and non-discriminatory conditions with the possibility of effective and full 
unbundling; (iii) aid should be allocated on the basis of a competitive selection 
process in accordance with paragraphs 78(c) and (d) of the Broadband guidelines15. 
13. 
Regional investment aid to research infrastructures16 may be regarded to be 
compatible with the internal market if, in addition to the general conditions laid 
down in these guidelines the aid is made conditional on giving transparent and non-
discriminatory access to this infrastructure.  
14. 
Large undertakings tend to be less affected than small and medium enterprises 
(SMEs) by regional handicaps for investing or maintaining economic activity in a 
less developed area. Firstly, large companies can more easily obtain capital and 
credit on global markets and are less constrained by the more limited offer of 
financial services in a particular disadvantaged region. Secondly, investments by 
large undertakings can produce economies of scale that reduce location-specific 
initial costs and, in many respects, are not tied to the region in which the investment 
takes place. Thirdly, large companies making investments usually possess 
                                                            
11 
State aid for the primary production, processing and marketing of agricultural products resulting in 
agricultural products listed in Annex I to the Treaty and forestry is subject to rules laid down in the 
Guidelines for state aid in the agricultural sector.  
12 
Transport means transport of passengers by aircraft, maritime transport, road, railway and by inland 
waterway  or freight transport services for hire or reward. 
13 
Community guidelines on the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the EC Treaty and Article 61 of the 
EEA Agreement to State aid to the aviation sector (OJ C 350, 10.12.1994, p. 5.), Community guidelines 
on financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines departing from regional airports (OJ C 312, 9.12. 
2005, p. 1.) as amended or replaced.  
14 
The Commission will assess the compatibility of state aid to the energy sector on the basis of the future 
energy and environmental aid guidelines,  amending the current guidelines on state aid for 
environmental protection, where the specific handicaps of the assisted areas will be taken into account.  
15 
Communication from the Commission, EU Guidelines for the application of state aid rules in relation to 
the rapid deployment of broadband networks, OJ C25, 26.01.2013, p.1. 
16 
As defined in Council Regulation (EC) No 723/2009 of 25 June 2009 on the Community legal 
framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), OJ L 206, 8.8.2009, p.1  

 

 
considerable bargaining power vis-à-vis the authorities, which may lead to aid being 
awarded without need or due justification. Finally, large companies are more likely 
to be significant players on the market concerned and, consequently, the investment 
for which the aid is awarded may distort competition and trade on the internal 
market. 
15. 
Since regional aid to large undertakings for their investments is unlikely to have an 
incentive effect, it cannot be regarded to be compatible with the internal market 
under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty, unless it is granted for initial investments that 
create new economic activities in these areas17, or for the diversification of existing 
establishments into new products or new process innovations.  
16. 
Regional aid aimed at reducing the current expenses of an undertaking constitutes 
operating aid and will not be regarded as compatible with the internal market, unless 
it is awarded to tackle specific or permanent handicaps faced by undertakings in 
disadvantaged regions. Operating aid may be considered compatible if it aims to 
reduce certain specific difficulties faced by SMEs in particularly disadvantaged areas 
falling within the scope of Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty, or to compensate for 
additional costs to pursue an economic activity in an outermost regions or to prevent 
or reduce depopulation in very sparsely populated areas. 
17. 
Operating aid awarded to undertakings whose principal activity falls under Section K 
‘Financial and insurance activities’ of the NACE Rev. 2 statistical classification of 
economic activities18 or to undertakings that perform intra-group activities and 
whose principal activity falls under classes 70.10 ‘Activities of head offices’ or 70.22 
‘Business and other management consultancy activities’ of NACE Rev. 2 will not be 
considered to be compatible with the internal market.  
18. 
Regional aid may not be awarded to firms in difficulties, as defined for the purposes 
of these guidelines by the Community guidelines on State aid for rescuing and 
restructuring firms in difficulty19, as amended or replaced. 
19. 
When assessing regional aid awarded to an undertaking which is subject to an 
outstanding recovery order following a previous Commission decision declaring an 
aid illegal and incompatible with the internal market, the Commission will take 
account of the amount of aid still to be recovered.20 
1.2. Definitions 
20. 
For the purposes of these guidelines, the following definitions apply: 
(a)  “‘a’ areas” mean those areas designated in a regional aid map in application of 
the provisions of Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty, ;‘c’ areas mean those areas 
                                                            
17 
See, paragraph 20(i).  
18 
Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 
establishing the statistical classification of economic activities NACE Revision 2 and amending Council 
Regulation (EEC) No 3037/90 as well as certain EC Regulations on specific statistical domains (OJ L 
393, 30.12.2006, p. 1).  
19 
OJ C 244, 1.10.2004, p.2, as prolonged by OJ C 156, 9.7.2009, p. 3 and OJ C 296, 2.10.2012, p. 3. As 
explained in paragraph 20 of those Guidelines, given that its very existence is in danger, a firm in 
difficulty cannot be considered an appropriate vehicle for promoting other public policy objectives until 
such time as its viability is assured.  
20 
See in this respect the joint Cases T-244/93 and T-486/93, TWD Textilwerke Deggendorf GmbH v 
Commission of the European Communities, [1995] ECR II-02265.  

 

 
designated in a regional aid map in application of the provisions of 
Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty; 
(b)  ‘ad hoc aid’ means aid that is not awarded on the basis of a scheme; 
(c)  ‘adjusted aid amount’ means the maximum permissible aid amount for a large 
investment project, calculated according to the following formula:  
maximum aid amount = R × (50 + 0.50 × B + 0.34 × C) 
where: R is the maximum aid intensity applicable in the area concerned, 
excluding the increased aid intensity for SMEs. B is the part of eligible costs 
between EUR 50 million and EUR 100 million. C is the part of eligible costs 
above EUR 100 million; 
(d)  ‘date of award of the aid’ means the date when the Member State took a legally 
binding commitment to award the aid that can be invoked before the national 
courts; 
(e)  ‘eligible costs’ means, for the purpose of investment aid, tangible and 
intangible assets related to an initial investment or wage costs;  
(f)  ‘gross grant equivalent’ (GGE) means the discounted value of the aid 
expressed as a percentage of the discounted value of the eligible costs, as 
calculated at the time of award of the aid on the basis of the reference rate 
applicable on that date; 
(g)  ‘individual aid’ means aid granted either on the basis of a scheme or on an ad 
hoc basis; 
(h)  ‘initial investment’ means  
(a)  an investment in tangible and intangible assets related to:  
–  the setting-up of a new establishment; 
–  the extension of the capacity of an existing establishment;  
–  the diversification of the output of an establishment into products not 
previously produced in the establishment; or  
–  a fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing 
establishment, or 
(b)  an acquisition of assets directly linked to an establishment provided the 
establishment has closed or would have closed if it had not been 
purchased, and is bought by an investor unrelated to the seller. The sole 
acquisition of the shares of an undertaking does not qualify as initial 
investment; 
(i) 
‘initial investment in favour of new economic activity’ means: 
(a)  An investment in tangible and intangible assets related to:  
–  the setting up of a new establishment; or 
–  the diversification of the activity of an establishment, under the condition 
that the new activity is not the same or a similar activity to the activity 
previously performed in the establishment; or 

 

 
(b)  the acquisition of the assets belonging to an establishment that has closed 
or would have closed if it had not been purchased, and is bought by an 
investor unrelated to the seller, under the condition that the new activity 
to be performed using the acquired assets is not a same or similar activity 
to the activity performed in the establishment prior to the acquisition; 
(j) 
‘intangible assets’ means assets acquired through a transfer of technology such 
as patent rights, licences, know-how or unpatented technical knowledge; 
(k)  ‘job creation’ means a net increase in the number of employees in the 
establishment concerned compared with the average over the previous 12 
months after deducting from the apparent created number of jobs any job lost 
during that period; 
(l) 
‘large investment project’ means an initial investment with eligible costs 
exceeding EUR 50 million, calculated at prices and exchange rates on the date 
of award of the aid; 
(m)  ‘maximum aid intensities’ means the aid intensities in GGE for large 
undertakings as laid down in subsection 5.4 of these guidelines and reflected in 
the relevant regional aid map;  
(n)  ‘notification threshold’ means aid amounts exceeding the thresholds set out in 
the table below:  
Aid intensity 
Notification threshold 
10 % 
EUR 7.5 million 
15% EUR 
11.25 
million 
25 % 
EUR 18.75 million 
35 % 
EUR 26.25 million 
50 % 
EUR 37.5 million 
(o)  ‘number of employees’ means the number of annual labour units (ALU), 
namely the numbers of persons employed full-time in one year; persons 
working part-time or employed in seasonal work are counted in ALU fractions; 
(p)  ‘outermost regions’ means the regions referred to in Article 349 of the 
Treaty21; 
                                                            
21 
Currently: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira and 
the Canary Islands. In accordance with European Council Decision (2010/718/EU) of 29 October 2010 
amending the status with regard to the European Union of the island of Saint-Barthélemy (OJ L 325, 
9.12.2010, p. 4), from 1 January 2012, Saint-Barthélemy ceased to be an outermost region and became 
an overseas country or territory referred to in Part Four of the Treaty. In accordance with European 
Council Decision (2012/419/EU) of 11 July 2012 amending the status of Mayotte with regard to the 
European Union (OJ L 204, 31.7.2012, p. 131), from 1 January 2014, Mayotte ceases to be an overseas 
country or territory and becomes an outermost region. 

 

 
(q)  ‘operating aid’ means aid aimed to reduce an undertaking’s current expenditure 
that is not related to an initial investment. This includes costs categories such 
as personnel costs, materials, contracted services, communications, energy, 
maintenance, rent, administration, etc., but excludes depreciation charges and 
the costs of financing if these have been included in the eligible costs when 
granting regional investment aid; 
(r)  ‘regional aid map’ means the list of areas designated by a Member State in 
accordance with the conditions laid down in these guidelines and approved by 
the Commission; 
(s)  ‘the same or a similar activity’ means an activity falling under the same class 
(four-digit numerical code) of the NACE Rev. 2 statistical classification of 
economic activities; 
(t) 
‘single investment project’ means any initial investment started by the same 
beneficiary (at group level) in a period of three years from the date of start of 
works on another aided investment in the same NUTS 3 region;  
(u)  ‘SMEs’ means undertakings that fulfil the conditions laid down in Commission 
recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and 
medium-sized enterprises22; 
(v)  ‘start of works’ means either the start of construction works on the investment 
or the first firm commitment to order equipment or other commitment that 
makes the investment irreversible, whichever is the first in time. Buying of 
land and preparatory works such as obtaining permits and conducting 
preliminary feasibility studies are not considered as start of works. For take-
overs, ‘start of works’ means the moment of acquiring the assets directly linked 
to the acquired establishment;  
(w)  ‘sparsely populated areas’ mean those areas designated by the Member State 
concerned in accordance with paragraph 161 of these guidelines;  
(x)  ‘tangible assets’ means assets such as land, buildings, and plant, machinery and 
equipment; 
(y)  ‘very sparsely populated areas’ means NUTS 2 regions with less than 8 
inhabitants per km (based on Eurostat data on population density for 2010) or 
parts of such NUTS 2 regions designated by the Member State concerned in 
accordance with paragraph 162 of these guidelines; 
(z)  ‘wage costs’ means the total amount actually payable by the beneficiary of the 
aid in respect of the employment concerned, comprising the gross wage before 
tax and compulsory contributions such as social security, child care and parent 
care costs over a defined period of time. 
2. NOTIFIABLE REGIONAL AID 
21. 
In principle, Member States must notify regional aid pursuant to Article 108(3)23 of 
the Treaty, with the exception of measures that fulfil the conditions laid down in a 
                                                            
22 
OJ L 124, 20.5.2003, p. 36. 

 

 
block exemption Regulation adopted by the Commission pursuant to Article 1 of 
Council Regulation (EC) No 994/98 of 7 May 1998 on the application of Articles 92 
and 93 of the Treaty establishing the European Community to certain categories of 
horizontal State aid (Enabling Regulation)24. 
22. 
The Commission will apply these guidelines to notified regional aid schemes and 
individual aid. 
23. 
Individual aid granted under a notified scheme remains subject to the notification 
obligation pursuant to Article 108(3) of the Treaty, if the aid from all sources 
exceeds the notification threshold25 or if it is granted to a beneficiary that has closed 
down the same or similar activity in the EEA two years preceding the date of 
applying for aid or at the moment of aid application has the intention to close down 
such an activity within a period of two years after the investment to be subsidised is 
completed. 
24. 
Investment aid granted to a large undertaking to diversify an existing establishment 
in an ‘c’ area into new products, remains subject to the notification obligation 
pursuant to Article 108(3) of the Treaty.  
3. COMPATIBILITY ASSESSMENT OF REGIONAL AID 
3.1. 
Common assessment principles 
25. 
To assess whether a notified aid measure can be considered compatible with the 
internal market, the Commission generally analyses whether the design of the aid 
measure ensures that the positive impact of the aid towards an objective of common 
interest exceeds its potential negative effects on trade and competition.  
26. 
The Communication on State aid modernisation of 8 May 2012 called for the 
identification and definition of common principles applicable to the assessment of 
compatibility of all the aid measures carried out by the Commission. For this 
purpose, the Commission will consider an aid measure compatible with the Treaty 
only if it satisfies each of the following criteria: 
(a)  contribution to a well-defined objective of common interest: a State aid 
measure must aim at an objective of common interest in accordance with 
Article 107(3) Treaty; (section 3.2) 
(b)  need for state intervention: a State aid measure must be targeted towards a 
situation where aid can bring about a material improvement that the market 
cannot deliver itself, for example by remedying a market failure or addressing 
an equity or cohesion concern; (section 3.3) 
(c)  appropriateness of the aid measure: the proposed aid measure must be an 
appropriate policy instrument to address the objective of common interest; 
(section 3.4) 
                                                                                                                                                                                          
23  
The Commission intends to exempt from the notification obligation ad-hoc aid to infrastructure meeting 
the compatibility criteria of a general block exemption regulation despite the fact that it is not granted as 
part of a scheme. 
24 
OJ L142, 14.5.1998, p. 1. 
25  
See paragraph 20 (n). 

 

 
(d)  incentive effect: the aid must change the behaviour of the undertaking(s) 
concerned in such a way that it engages in additional activity which it would 
not carry out without the aid or it would carry out in a restricted or different 
manner or location; (section 3.5) 
(e)  proportionality of the aid (aid to the minimum): the aid amount must be limited 
to the minimum needed to induce the additional investment or activity in the 
area concerned; (section 3.6) 
(f)  avoidance of undue negative effects on competition and trade between Member 
States: the negative effects of aid must be sufficiently limited, so that the 
overall balance of the measure is positive (section 3.7) 
(g)  transparency of aid: Member States, the Commission, economic operators, and 
the public, must have easy access to all relevant acts and to pertinent 
information about the aid awarded thereunder. (section 3.8) 
27. 
The overall balance of certain categories of schemes may further be made subject to 
a requirement of ex post evaluation as described in section 4 of these guidelines. In 
such cases, the Commission may limit the duration of those schemes (normally to 
four years or less) with a possibility to re-notify their prolongation afterwards.  
28. 
If a State aid measure or the conditions attached to it (including its financing method 
when the financing method forms an integral part of the State aid measure) entail a 
non-severable violation of EU law, the aid cannot be declared compatible with the 
internal market26.  
29. 
In assessing the compatibility of any individual aid with the internal market, the 
Commission will take account of any proceedings concerning infringement to 
Articles 101 or 102 of the Treaty which may concern the beneficiary of the aid and 
which may be relevant for its assessment under Article 107 (3) of the Treaty.27 
3.2. 
Contribution to a common objective 
30. 
The primary objective of regional aid is to reduce the development gap between the 
different regions in the European Union. Through its equity or cohesion objective 
regional aid may contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy 
delivering an inclusive and sustainable growth.  
3.2.1. 
Investment aid schemes 
31. 
Regional aid schemes should form an integral part of a regional development 
strategy with clearly defined objectives and should be consistent with and contribute 
towards these objectives.  
32. 
This would be the case in particular for measures implemented in accordance with 
regional development strategies defined in the context of the European Regional 
Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the 
European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development or the European Maritime and 
Fisheries Fund with a view to contributing towards the objectives of the Europe 2020 
strategy.  
                                                            
26 
See for instance Case C-156/98 Germany v Commission [2000] ECR I-6857, paragraph 78 and Case 
C-333/07 Régie Networks v Rhone Alpes Bourgogne [2008] ECR I-10807, paragraphs 94-116. 
27  
See Case C-225/91 Matra v Commission, [1993] ECR I-3203, paragraph 42.  
10 
 

 
33. 
For aid schemes outside an operational programme financed from the cohesion 
policy funds, Member States should demonstrate that the measure is consistent and 
contributes to the development strategy of the area concerned. For this purpose, 
Member States can rely on evaluations of past State aid schemes, impact assessments 
made by the granting authorities, or expert opinions. To ensure that the aid scheme 
contributes to this development strategy, it must include a system that will enable the 
granting authorities to prioritise and select the investment projects according to the 
objectives of the scheme (for example, on the basis of a formal scoring approach).28 
34. 
Regional aid schemes may be put in place in ‘a’ areas to support initial investments 
of SMEs or of large undertakings. In ‘c’ areas schemes may be put in place to 
support initial investments of SMEs and initial investment in favour of new activity 
of large undertakings. 
35. 
When awarding aid to individual investment projects on the basis of a scheme, the 
granting authority must confirm that the selected project will contribute towards the 
objective of the scheme and thus towards the development strategy of the area 
concerned. For this purpose, Member State can rely on the information provided by 
the applicant for aid in the form annexed to these guidelines where the positive 
effects of the investment on the area concerned must be described.29  
36. 
To ensure that the investment makes a real and sustained contribution to the 
development of the area concerned, the investment must be maintained in the area 
concerned for at least five years, or three years for SMEs, after its completion30.  
37. 
If the aid is calculated on the basis of wage costs, the posts must be filled within 
three years of the completion of works. Each job created through the investment 
must be maintained within the area concerned for a period of five years from the date 
the post was first filled. For investments carried out by all SMEs, Member States 
may reduce this five-year period for the maintenance of an investment or jobs to a 
minimum of three years.  
38. 
To ensure that the investment is viable, the Member State must ensure that the 
beneficiary provides a financial contribution of at least 25 %31 of the eligible costs, 
through its own resources or by external financing, in a form that is exempted of any 
public financial support32.  
39. 
To avoid that State aid measures would lead to environmental harm, Member States 
must also ensure compliance with Union environmental legislation, including in 
                                                            
28 
For broadband network infrastructure the aid beneficiary must be selected on the basis of a competitive 
selection process in accordance paragraph 78 c) and d) of the Broadband Guidelines, see footnote 15.  
29 
see annex V of these guidelines.  
30 
The obligation to maintain the investment in the area concerned for a minimum period of 5 years (3 
years for SMEs) should not prevent the replacement of plant or equipment that has become outdated or 
broken within this period, provided that the economic activity is retained in the area concerned for the 
minimum period. However, regional aid may not be awarded to replace that plant or equipment. 
31 
The 25% own contribution requirement in paragraph 38 does not apply to investment aid granted for 
investments in outermost regions where the maximum aid intensities can exceed 75% GGE and go up 
to 90% for SMEs in accordance with paragraph 173 of these guidelines. 
32 
This is not the case for example for subsidised loans, public equity-capital loans or public participations 
which do not meet the market investor principle, state guarantees containing elements of aid, or public 
support granted within the scope of de minimis rule. 
11 
 

 
particular the need to carry out an environmental impact assessment when  required 
by law and ensure all relevant permits. 
3.2.2. 
Notified individual investment aid 
40. 
To demonstrate the regional contribution of individual investment aid notified to the 
Commission, Member States may use a variety of indicators such as the ones 
mentioned below that can be both direct (for example. direct jobs created) and 
indirect (for example. local innovation):  
(a)  The number of direct jobs created by the investment is an important indicator 
of the contribution to regional development. The quality of the jobs created and 
the required skill level should also be considered. 
(b)  An even higher number of new jobs might be created in the local (sub-)supplier 
network, helping to better integrate the investment in the region concerned and 
ensuring more widespread spillover effects. The number of indirect jobs 
created will therefore also be taken into account.  
(c)  A commitment by the beneficiary to enter into widespread training activities to 
improve the skills (general and specific) of its workforce will be considered as 
a factor that contributes to regional development. Emphasis will also be put on 
providing traineeships or apprenticeships, especially for young people and on 
training that improves the knowledge and employability of workers outside the 
undertaking. General or specific training for which training aid is approved will 
not be counted as a positive effect of the regional aid to avoid double counting. 
(d)  External economies of scale or other benefits from a regional development 
viewpoint may arise as a result of proximity (clustering effect). Clustering of 
undertakings in the same industry allows individual plants to specialise more, 
which leads to increased efficiency. However, the importance of this indicator 
in determining the contribution to regional development depends on the state of 
development of the cluster.  
(e)  Investments embody technical knowledge and can be the source of a 
significant transfer of technology (knowledge spillovers). Investments taking 
place in technology intensive industries are more likely to involve technology 
transfer to the recipient region. The level and the specificity of the knowledge 
dissemination are also important in this regard. 
(f)  The projects' contribution to the region’s ability to create new technology 
through local innovation can also be considered. Co-operation of the new 
production facility with local higher education institutions can be considered 
positively in this respect. 
(g)  The duration of the investment and possible future follow-on investments are 
an indication of a durable engagement of a company in the region concerned. 
41. 
Member States can also refer to the business plan of the aid beneficiary which could 
provide information on the number of jobs to be created, salaries to be paid (increase 
in household wealth as spill-over effect), volume of acquisition from local producers, 
turnover generated by the investment and benefiting the area possibly through 
additional tax revenues.  
12 
 

 
42. 
For ad hoc aid33, the Member State must demonstrate, in addition to the requirements 
laid down in paragraphs 35 to 39, that the project is coherent with and contributes 
towards the development strategy of the area concerned. 
3.2.3. 
Operating aid schemes 
43. 
Operating aid schemes will promote the development of disadvantaged areas only if 
the challenges facing these areas are clearly identified in advance. The obstacles to 
attracting or maintaining economic activity may be so severe or permanent that 
investment aid alone is not sufficient to allow the development of those areas. 
44. 
As regards aid to reduce certain specific difficulties faced by SMEs in ‘a’ areas, the 
Member States concerned must demonstrate the existence and importance of those 
specific difficulties and must demonstrate that an operating aid scheme is needed as 
those specific difficulties cannot be overcome with investment aid.  
45. 
As regards operating aid to compensate certain additional costs in the outermost 
regions, the permanent handicaps which severely restrain the development of the 
outermost regions are set out in Article 349 of the Treaty and include remoteness, 
insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on 
a few products. The Member State concerned must however identify the specific 
additional costs related to these permanent handicaps that the operating aid scheme is 
intended to compensate.  
46. 
As regards operating aid to prevent or reduce depopulation in very sparsely 
populated areas, the Member State concerned must demonstrate the risk of 
depopulation of the relevant area in the absence of the operating aid.  
3.3. 
Need for State intervention  
47. 
In order to assess whether State aid is necessary to achieve the objective of common 
interest, it is necessary first to diagnose the problem to be addressed. State aid should 
be targeted towards situations where aid can bring about a material improvement that 
the market cannot deliver itself. This holds especially in a context of scarce public 
resources.  
48. 
State aid measures can indeed, under certain conditions, correct market failures 
thereby contributing to the efficient functioning of markets and enchancing 
competitiveness. Furthermore, where markets provide efficient outcomes but these 
are deemed unsatisfactory from an equity or cohesion point of view, State aid may be 
used to obtain a more desirable, equitable market outcome.  
49. 
As regards aid granted for the development of areas included in the regional aid map 
in accordance with the rules developed in section 5 of these guidelines, the 
Commission considers that the market is not delivering the expected cohesion 
objectives set out in the Treaty without state intervention. Therefore, aid granted in 
those areas should be considered compatible with the internal market pursuant to 
Article 107(3)(a) and (c) of the Treaty. 
                                                            
33 
Ad hoc aid is subject to the same requirements as individual aid granted on the basis of a scheme, 
unless otherwise mentioned.  
13 
 

 
3.4. 
Appropriateness of regional aid 
50. 
The notified aid measure must be an appropriate policy instrument to address the 
policy objective concerned. An aid measure will not be considered compatible if 
other less distortive policy instruments or other less distortive types of aid instrument 
make it possible to achieve the same positive contribution to regional development.  
3.4.1. 
Appropriateness among alternative policy instruments 
3.4.1.1.  Investment aid schemes 
51. 
Regional investment aid is not the only policy instrument available to Member States 
to support investment and job creation in disadvantaged regions. Member States can 
use other measures such as infrastructure development, enhancing the quality of 
education and training, or improvements in the business environment.  
52. 
Member States must indicate why regional aid is an appropriate instrument to tackle 
the common objective of equity or cohesion when introducing a scheme outside an 
operational programme financed from the cohesion policy funds. 
53. 
If a Member State decides to put in place a sectoral aid scheme outside an 
operational programme financed from the Union funds mentioned in paragraph 32 
above, it must demonstrate the advantages of such an instrument compared to a 
multi-sectoral scheme or other policy options.  
54. 
The Commission will in particular take account of any impact assessments of the 
proposed aid scheme that the Member State may make available. Likewise, the 
results of ex post evaluations as described in section 4 may be taken into account to 
assess the appropriateness of the proposed scheme.  
3.4.1.2.  Individual investment aid  
55. 
For ad hoc aid, the Member State must demonstrate how the development of the area 
concerned is better ensured by such aid than by aid under a scheme or other types of 
measures.  
3.4.1.3. Operating aid schemes 
56. 
The Member State must demonstrate that the aid is appropriate to achieve the 
objective of the scheme for the problems that the aid is intended to address. To 
demonstrate that the aid is appropriate, the Member State may calculate the aid 
amount ex ante as a fixed sum covering the expected additional costs over a given 
period, to incentivise undertakings to contain costs and develop their business in a 
more efficient manner over time.34 
3.4.2. 
Appropriateness among different aid instruments 
57. 
Regional aid can be awarded in various forms. The Member State should however 
ensure that the aid is awarded in the form that is likely to generate the least 
distortions of trade and competition. In this respect, if the aid is awarded in forms 
that provide a direct pecuniary advantage (for example, direct grants, exemptions or 
                                                            
34 
However, where future costs and revenue developments are surrounded by a high degree of uncertainty 
and there is a strong asymmetry of information, the public authority may also wish to adopt 
compensation models that are not entirely ex ante, but rather a mix of ex ante and ex post (for example,. 
using claw backs such as to allow sharing of unanticipated gains).  
14 
 

 
reductions in taxes, social security or other compulsory charges, or the supply of 
land, goods or services at favourable prices, etc.), the Member State must 
demonstrate why other potentially less distortive forms of aid such as repayable 
advances or forms of aid that are based on debt or equity instruments (for example, 
low-interest loans or interest rebates, state guarantees, the purchase of a share-
holding or an alternative provision of capital on favourable terms) are not 
appropriate. 
58. 
For aid schemes implementing the objectives and priorities of operational 
programmes, the financing instrument chosen in this programme is considered to be 
an appropriate instrument.  
59. 
The results of ex post evaluations as described in section 4 may be taken into account 
to assess the appropriateness of the proposed aid instrument. 
3.5. Incentive 
effect 
60. 
Regional aid can only be found compatible with the internal market, if it has an 
incentive effect. An incentive effect is present when the aid changes the behaviour of 
an undertaking in a way it engages in additional activity contributing to the 
development of an area which it would not have engaged in without the aid or would 
only have engaged in such activity in a restricted or different manner or in another 
location. The aid must not subsidise the costs of an activity that an undertaking 
would have incurred in any event and must not compensate for the normal business 
risk of an economic activity.  
61. 
The existence of an incentive effect can be proven in two possible scenarios:  
(a)  The aid gives an incentive to adopt a positive investment decision because an 
investment that would otherwise not be sufficiently profitable for the 
beneficiary can take place in the area concerned35  (scenario 1, investment 
decision) or  
(b)  The aid gives an incentive to opt to locate a planned investment in the relevant 
area rather than elsewhere because it compensates for the net disadvantagesand 
costs linked to a location in the area concerned (scenario 2, location decision). 
62. 
If the aid does not change the behaviour of the beneficiary by stimulating (additional) 
investment in the area concerned, it can be considered that the same investment 
would take place in the region even without the aid. Such aid lacks incentive effect to 
achieve the regional objective and cannot be approved as compatible with the 
internal market.  
63. 
However, for regional aid awarded through cohesion policy funds in ‘a’ regions to 
investments necessary to achieve standards set by Union law, the aid may be 
considered to have an incentive effect, if in absence of the aid, it would not have 
been sufficiently profitable for the beneficiary to make the investment in the area 
concerned, thereby leading to the closure of an existing establishment in that area.  
                                                            
35 
Such investments may create conditions allowing further investments that are viable without additional 
aid.  
15 
 

 
3.5.1. 
Investment aid schemes 
64. 
Works on an individual investment can start only after submitting the application 
form for aid.  
65. 
If works begin before submitting the application form for aid, any aid awarded in 
respect of that individual investment will not be considered compatible with the 
internal market. 
66. 
Member States must introduce a standard application form for aid annexed to these 
Guidelines.36 In the application form, SMEs and large companies  must explain 
counterfactually what would have happened had they not received the aid indicating 
whichof the scenarios described in paragraph 61 applies. 
67. 
In addition, large companies must submit documentary evidence in support of the 
counterfactual described in the application form. SMEs are not subject to such 
obligation. 
68. 
The granting authority must carry out a credibility check of the counterfactual and 
confirm that regional aid has the required incentive effect corresponding to one of the 
scenarios described in paragraph 61. A counterfactual is credible if it is genuine and 
relates to the decision-making factors prevalent at the time of the decision by the 
beneficiary regarding the investment.  
3.5.2. 
Notified individual investment aid 
69. 
In addition to the requirements of paragraphs 64 to 67, for notified individual aid37, 
the Member State must provide clear evidence that the aid effectively has an impact 
on the investment choice or the location choice38. It must specify which scenario 
described in paragraph 61 applies. To allow a comprehensive assessment, the 
Member State must provide not only information concerning the aided project but 
also a comprehensive description of the counterfactual scenario, in which no aid is 
awarded to the beneficiary by any public authority in the EEA.  
70. In 
scenario 1, the Member State could prove the existence of the incentive effect of 
the aid by providing company documents that show that the investment would not be 
sufficiently profitable without the aid. 
71. In 
scenario 2, the Member State could prove the incentive effect of the aid by 
providing company documents showing that a comparison has been made between 
the costs and benefits of locating in the area concerned and those in alternative 
area(s). The Commission verifies whether such comparisons have a realistic basis. 
72. 
The Member States are, in particular, invited to rely on official board documents, 
risk assessments (including the assessment of location-specific risks), financial 
reports, internal business plans, expert opinions and other studies related to the 
investment project under assessment. Documents containing information on demand 
forecasts, cost forecasts, financial forecasts, documents that are submitted to an 
investment committee and that elaborate on various investment scenarios, or 
                                                            
36 
See Annex V. 
37 
Ad hoc aid must also respect the requirements laid down in paragraphs 64 to 67 of these guidelines, in 
addition to the requirements of section 3.5.2.  
38 
The counterfactual scenarios are described in paragraph 61.  
16 
 

 
documents provided to the financial institutions could help the Member States to 
demonstrate the incentive effect. 
73. 
In this context, and in particular in scenario 1, the level of profitability can be 
evaluated by reference to methodologies which are standard practice in the particular 
industry concerned, and which may include methods to evaluate the net present value 
of the project (NPV)39, the internal rate of return (IRR)40 or the average return on 
capital employed (ROCE). The profitability of the project is to be compared with 
normal rates of return applied by the company in other investment projects of a 
similar kind. Where these rates are not available, the profitability of the project is to 
be compared with the cost of capital of the company as a whole or with the rates of 
return commonly observed in the industry concerned.  
74. 
If the aid does not change the behaviour of the beneficiary by stimulating (additional) 
investment in the area concerned, there is no positive effect for the region. Therefore, 
aid will not be considered compatible with the internal market in cases where it 
appears that the same investment would take place in the region even without the aid 
having been granted. 
3.5.3. 
Operating aid schemes 
75. 
For operating aid schemes, the incentive effect of the aid will be considered to be 
present if it is likely that, in the absence of aid, the level of economic activity in the 
area or region concerned would be significantly reduced due to the problems that the 
aid is intended to address. 
76. 
The Commission will therefore consider that the aid induces additional economic 
activity in the areas or regions concerned, if the Member State has demonstrated the 
existence and substantial nature of those problems in the area concerned (see 
paragraphs 44 to 46). 
3.6. 
Proportionality of the aid amount (aid limited to the minimum) 
77. 
In principle, the amount of the regional aid must be limited to the minimum needed 
to induce additional investment or activity in the area concerned.  
78. 
As a general rule, notified individual aid will be considered to be limited to the 
minimum, if the aid amount corresponds to the net extra costs of implementing the 
investment in the area concerned, compared to the counterfactual in the absence of 
aid. Likewise, in the case of investment aid granted to large undertakings under 
notified schemes, Member States must ensure that the aid amount is limited to the 
minimum on the basis of a ‘net-extra cost approach’.  
79. For 
scenario 1 situations (investment decisions) the aid amount should therefore not 
exceed the minimum necessary to render the project sufficiently profitable, for 
example to increase its IRR beyond the normal rates of return applied by the 
undertaking concerned in other investment projects of a similar kind or, when 
                                                            
39 
The net present value of a project is the difference between the positive and negative cash flows over 
the lifetime of the investment, discounted to their current value (typically using the cost of capital).  
40 
The internal rate of return is not based on accounting earnings in a given year, but takes into account the 
stream of future cash flows that the investor expects to receive over the entire lifetime of the 
investment. It is defined as the discount rate for which the NPV of a stream of cash flows equals zero.  
17 
 

 
available, to increase its IRR beyond the cost of capital of the company as a whole or 
beyond the rates of return commonly observed in the industry concerned.  
80. In 
scenario 2 situations (location incentives), the aid amount should not exceed the 
difference between the net present value of the investment in the target area with the 
net present value in the alternative location. All relevant costs and benefits must be 
taken into account, including for example administrative costs, transport costs, 
training costs not covered by training aid and also wage differences. However, where 
the alternative location is in the EEA, subsidies granted in that other location are not 
to be taken into account.  
81. 
To ensure predictability and a level playing field, the Commission further applies 
maximum aid intensities41 for investment aid. These maximum aid intensities serve a 
dual purpose.  
82. 
First, for notified schemes, these maximum aid intensities serve as safe harbours for 
SMEs: as long as the aid intensity remains below the maximum permissible, the 
criterion of 'aid limited to the minimum' is deemed to be fulfilled.  
83. 
Second, for all other cases, the maximum aid intensities are used as a cap to the net-
extra costs approach described in paragraphs 79 and 80.  
84. 
The maximum aid intensities are modulated in function of three criteria:  
(a)  the socio-economic situation of the area concerned, as a proxy for the extent to 
which the area is in need of further development and, potentially, the extent to 
which it suffers from a handicap in attracting and maintaining economic 
activity;  
(b)  the size of the beneficiary as proxy for the specific difficulties to finance or 
implement a project in the area, and  
(c)  the size of the investment project, as indicator for the expected level of 
distortion of competition and trade.  
85. 
Accordingly, higher aid intensities (and, potentially, higher resulting distortions of 
trade and competition) are allowed the less developed the target region is, and if the 
aid beneficiary is an SME.  
86. 
In view of the expected higher distortions of competition and trade, the maximum aid 
intensity for large investment projects must be scaled down using the mechanism as 
defined in paragraph 20 (c). 
3.6.1. 
Investment aid schemes 
87. 
For aid to SMEs, the increased maximum aid intensities described in section 5.4 may 
be used. However, SMEs may not benefit from these increased intensities where the 
investment relates to a large investment project.  
88. 
For aid to large undertakings, the Member State must ensure that the aid amount 
corresponds to the net extra costs of implementing the investment in the area 
concerned, compared to the counterfactual in the absence of aid. The method 
explained in paragraphs 79 and 80 must be used together with maximum aid 
intensities as a cap. 
                                                            
41 
See subsection 5.4 on regional aid maps. 
18 
 

 
89. 
For aid to large investment projects, it must be ensured that the aid does not exceed 
the scaled down intensity. Where aid is awarded to a beneficiary for an investment 
that is considered to be part of a single investment project, the aid must be scaled 
down for the eligible costs exceeding EUR 50 million.42 
90. 
The maximum aid intensity and aid amount per project must be calculated by the 
granting authority when awarding the aid. The aid intensity must be calculated on the 
basis of a gross grant equivalent either in relation to the total eligible costs of the 
investment or eligible wage costs declared by the aid beneficiary when applying for 
aid.  
91. 
If investment aid calculated on the basis of investment costs is combined with 
regional investment aid calculated on the basis of wage costs, the total aid must not 
exceed the highest aid amount resulting from either calculation up to the maximum 
permissible aid intensity for the area concerned. 
92. 
Investment aid may be awarded concurrently under several regional aid schemes or 
cumulated with ad hoc aid, provided that the total aid from all sources does not 
exceed the maximum permissible aid intensity per project that must be calculated in 
advance by the first granting authority. 
93. 
For an initial investment linked to European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) projects 
meeting the criteria of the Regulation laying down the specific provisions for the 
support of the European Regional Development Fund to the ETC cooperation goal43, 
the aid intensity which applies to the area in which the initial investment is located 
will apply to all beneficiaries participating in the project. If the initial investment is 
located in two or more assisted areas, the maximum aid intensity for the initial 
investment will be the one applicable in the assisted area where the largest part of the 
eligible costs are incurred. Initial investments carried out by large undertakings in ‘c’ 
areas may only benefit from regional aid in the context of ETC projects if they are 
initial investments in favour of new activities or new products.  
3.6.1.1.  Eligible costs calculated on the basis of investment costs  
94. 
The assets acquired should be new, except for SMEs or in the case of acquisition of 
an establishment44. 
95. 
For SMEs, up to 50 % of the costs of preparatory studies or consultancy costs linked 
to the investment may also be considered as eligible costs.  
96. 
For aid awarded for a fundamental change in the production process, the eligible 
costs must exceed the depreciation of the assets linked to the activity to be 
modernised in the course of the preceding three fiscal years.  
97. 
For aid awarded for a diversification of an existing establishment, the eligible costs 
must exceed by at least 200 % the book value of the assets that are reused, as 
registered in the fiscal year preceding the start of works.  
                                                            
42 
Scaled down aid intensities are the result of the mechanism defined in paragraph 20 (c).  
43 
Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the support from 
the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal. Commission 
proposal COM (2011) 611 ERDF/ETC Regulation. 
44 
Defined in paragraph 20 (h) and (i).  
19 
 

 
98. 
Costs related to the lease of tangible assets may be taken into account under the 
following conditions:  
(a)  For land and buildings, the lease must continue for at least five years after the 
expected date of completion of the investment for large companies, and three 
years for SMEs 
(b)  For plant or machinery, the lease must take the form of financial leasing and 
must contain an obligation for the beneficiary of the aid to purchase the asset at 
the expiry of the term of the lease. 
99. 
In the case of acquisition of an establishment only the costs of buying the assets from 
third parties unrelated to the buyer should be taken into consideration. The 
transaction must take place under market conditions. Where aid has already been 
granted for the acquisition of assets prior to their purchase, the costs of those assets 
should be deducted from the eligible costs related to the acquisition of an 
establishment. If the acquisition of an establishment is accompanied by an additional 
investment eligible for aid, the eligible costs of this latter investment should be added 
to the costs of purchase of the assets of the establishment.  
100. 
For large undertakings, costs of intangible assets are eligible only up to a limit of 
50 % of the total eligible investment costs for the project. For SMEs, the full costs 
related to intangible assets may be taken into consideration.  
101. 
Intangible assets which are eligible for the calculation of the investments costs must 
remain associated with the assisted area concerned and must not be transferred to 
other regions. To this end, the intangible assets must fulfil the following conditions: 
(a)  they must be used exclusively in the establishment receiving the aid; 
(b)  they must be amortisable; 
(c)  they must be purchased under market conditions from third parties unrelated to 
the buyer. 
102. 
The intangible assets must be included in the assets of the undertaking receiving the 
aid and must remain associated with the project for which the aid is awarded for at 
least five years (three years for SMEs). 
3.6.1.2.  Eligible costs calculated on the basis of wage costs 
103. 
Regional aid may also be calculated by reference to the expected wage costs arising 
from job creation as a result of an initial investment. Aid can compensate only the 
wage costs of the person hired calculated over a period of two years and the resulting 
intensity cannot exceed the applicable aid intensity in the area concerned.  
3.6.2. 
Notified individual investment aid  
104. For 
scenario 1 situations (investment decision) the Commission will verify whether 
the aid amount exceeds the minimum necessary to render the project sufficiently 
profitable, by using the method set out in paragraph 79. 
105. In 
scenario 2 situations (location decision), for a location incentive, the Commission 
will compare the net present value of the investment for the target area with the net 
present value of the investment in the alternative location, by using the method set 
out in paragraph 80.  
20 
 

 
106. 
Calculations used for the analysis of the incentive effect can also be used to assess if 
the aid is proportionate. The Member State must demonstrate the proportionality on 
the basis of documentation such as that referred to in paragraph 72.  
107. 
The aid intensity must not exceed the permissible adjusted aid intensity. 
3.6.3. 
Operating aid schemes 
108. 
The Member State must demonstrate that the level of the aid is proportionate to the 
problems that the aid is intended to address. 
109. 
In particular, the following conditions must be fulfilled: 
(a)  the aid must be determined in relation to a predefined set of eligible costs that 
are fully attributable to the problems that the aid is intended to address, as 
demonstrated by the Member State; 
(b)  the aid must be limited to a certain proportion of those predefined set of 
eligible costs and must not exceed those costs; 
(c)  the aid amount per beneficiary must be proportional to the level of the 
problems actually experienced by each beneficiary. 
110. 
As regards aid to compensate for certain additional costs in the outermost regions, 
the eligible costs must be fully attributable to one or several of the permanent 
handicaps referred to in Article 349 of the Treaty. Those additional costs must 
exclude transport costs and any additional costs that may be attributable to other 
factors and must be quantified in relation to the level of costs incurred by similar 
undertakings established in other regions of the Member State concerned.  
111. 
As regards aid to reduce certain specific difficulties faced by SMEs in ‘a’ areas, the 
level of the aid must be progressively reduced over the duration of the scheme45. 
3.7. 
Avoidance of undue negative effects on competition and trade 
112. 
For the aid to be compatible, the negative effects of the aid measure in terms of 
distortions of competition and impact on trade between Member States must be 
limited and outweighed by the positive effects in terms of contribution to the 
objective of common interest. Certain situations can be identified where the negative 
effects manifestly outweigh any positive effects, meaning that the aid cannot be 
found compatible with the internal market. 
3.7.1. General 
considerations 
113. 
Two main potential distortions of competition and trade may be caused by regional 
aid. These are product market distortions and location effects. Both types may lead to 
allocative inefficiencies (undermining the economic performance of the internal 
market) and to distributional concerns (distribution of economic activity across 
regions). 
114. 
One potentially harmful effect of State aid is that it prevents the market mechanism 
from delivering efficient outcomes by rewarding the most efficient producers and 
putting pressure on the least inefficient to improve, restructure or exit the market. A 
substantial capacity expansion induced by State aid in an underperforming market 
                                                            
45 
Including when operating aid schemes are notified to prolong existing aid measures. 
21 
 

 
might in particular unduly distort competition, as the creation or maintenance of 
overcapacity could lead to a squeeze on profit margins, a reduction of competitors’ 
investments or even the exit of competitors from the market. This might lead to a 
situation where competitors that would otherwise be able to stay on the market are 
forced out of the market. It may also prevent undertakings from entering or 
expanding in the market and it may weaken incentives for competitors to innovate. 
This results in inefficient market structures which are also harmful to consumers in 
the long run. Further, the availability of aid may induce complacent or unduly risky 
behaviour on the part of potential beneficiaries. The long term run effect on the 
overall performance of the sector is likely to be negative. 
115. 
Aid may also have distortive effects in terms of increasing or maintaining substantial 
market power on the part of the beneficiary. Even where aid does not strengthen 
substantial market power directly, it may do so indirectly, by discouraging the 
expansion of existing competitors or inducing their exit or discouraging the entry of 
new competitors. 
116. 
Apart from distortions on the product markets, regional aid by nature also affects the 
location of economic activity. Where one area attracts an investment due to the aid, 
another area loses out on that opportunity. These negative effects in the areas 
adversely affected by aid may be felt through lost economic activity and lost jobs 
including those at the level of subcontractors. It may also be felt in a loss of positive 
externalities (for example, clustering effect, knowledge spillovers, education and 
training, etc.).  
117. 
The geographical specificity of regional aid distinguishes it from other forms of 
horizontal aid. It is a particular characteristic of regional aid that it is intended to 
influence the choice made by investors about where to locate investment projects. 
When regional aid off-sets the additional costs stemming from the regional handicaps 
and supports additional investment in assisted areas without attracting it away from 
other assisted areas, it contributes not only to the development of the region, but also 
to cohesion and ultimately benefits the whole Union. With regard to the potential 
negative location effects of regional aid, these are already limited to a certain degree 
by regional aid maps, which define exhaustively the areas where regional aid may be 
granted, taking account of the equity and cohesion policy objectives, and the 
maximum permissible aid intensities. However, an understanding of what would 
have happened in the absence of the aid remains important to appraise the actual 
impact of the aid in the cohesion objective. 
3.7.2. Manifest 
negative 
effects 
118. 
The Commission identifies a number of situations where the negative effects of the 
aid manifestly outweigh any positive effects, so that the aid cannot be declared 
compatible with the internal market.  
119. 
The Commission establishes maximum aid intensities. These constitute a basic 
requirement for compatibility, the aim of which is to prevent the use of State aid for 
projects where the ratio between aid amount and eligible costs is consideredvery high 
and particularly likely to be distortive. In general, the greater the positive effects to 
which the aided project is likely to give rise and the higher the likely need for aid, the 
higher the cap on aid intensity will be. 
22 
 

 
120. 
For scenario 1 cases (investment decisions), where the creation of capacity by the 
project takes place in a market which is structurally in absolute decline, the 
Commission considers it to be a negative effect, which is unlikely to be compensated 
by any positive effect. 
121. 
In scenario 2 cases (location decisions), where without aid the investment would 
have been located in a region with a regional aid intensity which is higher or the 
same as the target region this will constitute a negative effect that is unlikely to be 
compensated by any positive effect because it runs counter to the very rationale of 
regional aid.46 
122. 
Where the beneficiary closes down the same or a similar activity in another area in 
the EEA and relocates that activity to the target area, if there is a causal link between 
the aid and the relocation, this will constitute a negative effect that is unlikely to be 
compensated by any positive elements. 
123. 
When appraising notified measures, the Commission will request all necessary 
information to consider whether the State aid would result in a substantial loss of 
jobs in existing locations within the EEA. 
3.7.3. 
Investment aid schemes 
124. 
Investment aid schemes must not lead to significant distortions of competition and 
trade. In particular, even where distortions may be considered limited at an 
individual level (provided all conditions for investment aid are fulfilled), on a 
cumulative basis schemes might still lead to high levels of distortions. Such 
distortions might concern the output markets by creating or aggravating a situation of 
overcapacity or creating, increasing or maintaining the substantial market power of 
some recipients in a way that will negatively affect dynamic incentives. Aid available 
under schemes might also lead to a significant loss of economic activity in other 
areas of the EEA. In case of a scheme focussing on certain sectors, the risk of such 
distortions is even more pronounced. 
125. 
Therefore, the Member State has to demonstrate that these negative effects will be 
limited to the minimum taking into account, for example, the size of the projects 
concerned, the individual and cumulative aid amounts, the expected beneficiaries as 
well as the characteristics of the targeted sectors. In order to enable the Commission 
to assess the likely negative effects, the Member State could submit any impact 
assessment at its disposal as well as ex-post evaluations carried out for similar 
predecessor schemes. 
126. 
When awarding aid under a scheme to individual projects, the granting authority 
must verify and confirm that the aid does not result in the manifest negative effects 
described in paragraph 121. This verification can be based on the information 
received from the beneficiary when applying for aid and on the declaration made in 
the standard application form for aid where the alternative location in absence of aid 
should be indicated.  
                                                            
46 
For the purpose of this provision, the Commission will use the standard applicable aid ceiling in ‘c’ 
areas bordering ‘a’ areas regardless of the increased aid intensities in accordance with paragraph 176 .  
23 
 

 
3.7.4. 
Notified individual investment aid 
127. 
In appraising the negative effects of notified aid, the Commission distinguishes 
between the two counterfactual scenarios described in paragraphs 104 and 105 
above. 
3.7.4.1.  Scenario 1 cases (investment decisions) 
128. 
In scenario 1 cases, the Commission places particular emphasis on the negative 
effects linked with the build-up of overcapacity in declining industries, the 
prevention of exit, and the notion of substantial market power. These negative effects 
are described below in paragraphs 129 to 138 and must be counterbalanced with the 
positive effects of the aid. However, if it is established that the aid would result in the 
manifest negative effects described in paragraph 120 the aid cannot be found 
compatible with the internal market because it is unlikely to be compensated by any 
positive element.  
129. 
In order to identify and assess the potential distortions of competition and trade, 
Member States should provide evidence permitting the Commission to identify the 
product markets concerned (that is to say, products affected by the change in 
behaviour of the aid beneficiary) and to identify the competitors and 
customers/consumers affected.  
130. 
The Commission will use various criteria to assess these potential distortions, such as 
market structure of the product concerned, performance of the market (declining or 
growing market), process for selection of the aid beneficiary, entry and exit barriers, 
product differentiation. 
131. 
A systematic reliance on State aid by an undertaking might indicate that the 
undertaking is not able to withstand competition on its own or that it enjoys undue 
advantages compared to its competitors.  
132. 
The Commission distinguishes two main sources of potential negative effects on 
product markets:  
(a)  cases of significant capacity expansion which leads to or deteriorates an 
existing situation of overcapacity, especially in a declining market and  
(b)  cases where the aid beneficiary holds substantial market power.  
133. 
In order to evaluate whether the aid may serve to create or maintain inefficient 
market structures, the Commission will take into account the additional production 
capacity created by the project and whether the market is underperforming.  
134. 
Where the market in question is growing, there is normally less reason to be 
concerned that the aid will negatively affect dynamic incentives or will unduly 
impede exit or entry.  
135. 
More concern is warranted when markets are in decline. In this respect the 
Commission distinguishes between cases for which, from a long-term perspective, 
the relevant market is structurally in decline (that is to say, shows a negative growth 
rate), and cases for which the relevant market is in relative decline (that is to say, 
shows a positive growth rate, but does not exceed a benchmark growth rate).  
136. 
Underperformance of the market will normally be measured compared to the EEA 
GDP over the last three years before the start of the project (benchmark rate); it can 
24 
 

 
also be established on the basis of projected growth rates in the coming three to five 
years. Indicators may include the foreseeable future growth of the market concerned 
and the resulting expected capacity utilisation rates, as well as the likely impact of 
the capacity increase on competitors through its effects on prices and profit margins.  
137. 
In certain cases, assessing the growth of the product market in the EEA may not be 
appropriate to entirely assess the effects of aid, in particular if the geographic market 
is worldwide. In such cases, the Commission will consider the effect of the aid on the 
market structures concerned, in particular, its potential to crowd out producers in the 
EEA. 
138. 
In order to evaluate the existence of substantial market power, the Commission will 
take into account the position of the beneficiary over a period of time before 
receiving the aid and the expected market position after finalizing the investment. 
The Commission will take account of market shares of the beneficiary, as well as of 
market shares of its competitors and other relevant factors, including, for example 
the market structure by looking at the concentration in the market, possible barriers 
to entry47, buyer power48 and barriers to expansion or exit.  
3.7.4.2.  Scenario 2 cases (location decisions)  
139. 
If the counterfactual analysis suggests that without the aid the investment would have 
gone ahead in another location (scenario 2) which belongs to the same geographical 
market considering the product concerned, and if the aid is proportional, possible 
outcomes in terms of overcapacity or substantial market power would in principle be 
the same regardless of the aid. In such cases, the positive effects of the aid are likely 
to outweigh the limited negative effects on competition. However, where the 
alternative location is in the EEA, the Commission is particularly concerned with 
negative effects linked with the alternative location and therefore if the aid results in 
the manifest negative effects described in paragraphs 121 and 122 the aid cannot be 
found compatible with the internal market because it is unlikely to be compensated 
by any positive element.  
3.7.5. 
Operating aid schemes 
140. 
If the aid is necessary and proportional to achieve the common objective described in 
Subsection 3.2.3, the negative effects of the aid are likely to be compensated by 
positive effects. However, in some cases, the aid may result in changes to the 
structure of the market or to the characteristics of a sector or industry which could 
significantly distort competition through barriers to market entry or exit, substitution 
effects, or displacement of trade flows. In those cases, the identified negative effects 
are unlikely to be compensated by any positive effects. 
                                                            
47 
These entry barriers include legal barriers (in particular intellectual property rights), economies of scale 
and scope, access barriers to networks and infrastructure. Where the aid concerns a market where the 
aid beneficiary is an incumbent, possible barriers to entry may exacerbate the potential substantial 
market power wielded by the aid beneficiary and thus the possible negative effects of that market 
power. 
48 
Where there are strong buyers in the market, it is less likely that an aid beneficiary can increase prices. 
vis-à-vis these strong buyers. 
25 
 

 
3.8. Transparency 
141. 
Member States must publish on a central website, or on a single website retrieving 
information from several websites (for example, regional websites), at least the 
following information on the notified State aid measures: the text of the notified aid 
scheme and its implementing provisions, granting authority, individual beneficiaries, 
aid amount per beneficiary, and aid intensity. These requirements apply to individual 
aid granted under notified schemes and as well as for ad hoc aid. Such information 
must be published after the granting decision has been taken, must be kept for at least 
10 years and must be available for the general public without restrictions.49 
4. EVALUATION 
142.  To further ensure that distortions of competition and trade are limited, the 
Commission may require that certain schemes be subject to a time limitation (of 
normally 4 years or less) and to the evaluation referred to in paragraph 27. 
143. 
Evaluations will be carried out for schemes where the potential distortions are 
particularly high, that is to say, that may restrict competition  significantly, if their 
implementation is not reviewed in due time. 
144. 
Given the objectives of the evaluation and in order not to impose disproportionate 
burden on Member States in respect of smaller aid amounts, this obligation may be 
imposed only for aid schemes with large aid budgets, containing novel characteristics 
or when significant market, technology or regulatory changes are foreseen. The 
evaluation must be carried out by an expert independent from the state aid granting 
authority on the basis of a common methodology50 and must be made public. The 
evaluation must be submitted to the Commission in sufficient time to allow for the 
assessment of the possible prolongation of the aid scheme and in any case upon 
expiry of the scheme. The precise scope and the methodology of this evaluation to be 
carried out will be defined in the decision approving the aid scheme. Any subsequent 
aid measure with a similar objective must take into account the results of the 
evaluation.  
5. REGIONAL AID MAPS 
145. 
In this section, the Commission lays down the criteria for identifying the areas that 
fulfil the conditions of Articles 107(3)(a) and (c) of the Treaty. The areas that fulfil 
these conditions and which a Member State wishes to designate as ‘a’ or ‘c’ areas 
must be identified in a regional aid map which must be notified to the Commission 
and approved by the Commission before regional aid can be awarded to undertakings 
located in the designated areas. The maps must also specify the maximum aid 
intensities applicable in these areas. 
5.1. 
Population coverage eligible for regional aid 
146. 
Given that the award of regional State aid derogates from the general prohibition of 
State aid laid down in Article 107(1) of the Treaty, the Commission considers that 
                                                            
49 
This information should be regularly updated (for example every six months) and should be available in 
non-proprietary formats.  
50 
Such a common methodology may be provided by the Commission. 
26 
 

 
the combined population of ‘a’ and ‘c’ areas in the Union must be lower than that of 
the non-designated areas. The total coverage of those designated areas should 
therefore be less than 50 % of the Union’s population.  
147. 
In the Guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-201351 the overall coverage of the 
‘a’ and ‘c’ areas was set at 42 % of the EU-25 population (45.5 % of the EU-27 
population). The Commission considers that this initial level of overall population 
coverage should be adapted to reflect the current difficult economic situation of 
many Member States. 
148. 
Accordingly, the overall coverage ceiling of the ‘a’ and ‘c’ areas should be set at 
46.53% of the EU-27 population for the period 2014-202052. 
5.2. 
The derogation in Article 107(3)(a) 
149.  Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty provides that ‘aid to promote the economic 
development of areas where the standard of living is abnormally low or where there 
is serious underemployment, and of the regions referred to in Article 349, in view of 
their structural, economic and social situation’ may be considered to be compatible 
with the internal market. According to the Court of Justice, ‘the use of the words 
“abnormally” and “serious” in Article [107](3)(a) shows that the exemption concerns 
only areas where the economic situation is extremely unfavourable in relation to the 
[Union] as a whole’53. 
150. 
The Commission considers that the conditions of Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty are 
fulfilled in NUTS 2 regions54 that have a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita 
below or equal to 75 % of the Union’s average55. 
151. 
Accordingly, a Member State may designate the following areas as ‘a’ areas: 
(a)  NUTS 2 regions whose GDP per capita in purchasing power standards (PPS)56 
is below or equal to 75 % of the EU-27 average (based on the average of the 
last three years for which Eurostat data are available57);  
(b)  the outermost regions. 
152. 
The eligible ‘a’ areas are set out by Member State in Annex I. 
                                                            
51 
OJ C 54, 4.3.2006, p. 13. 
52 
This ceiling is set using Eurostat population data for 2010. The ceiling will correspond to 47.00 % of 
the EU-28 population following the accession of Croatia to the Union. 
53 
Judgment of 14 October 1987 in Case 248/84 Germany v Commission (ECR 1987, p. 4036, paragraph 
19); judgment of 14 January 1997 in Case C-169/95 Spain  v Commission (ECR 1997, p. I-148, 
paragraph 15); and judgment of 7 March 2002 in Case C-310/99 Italy v Commission (ECR 2002, p. I-
2289, paragraph 77). 
54 
Commission Regulation (EU) No 31/2011 of 17 January 2011 amending annexes to Regulation (EC) 
No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of a common 
classification of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) (OJ L 13, 18.1.2011, p. 3). The data used in these 
guidelines are based on the NUTS 2010 nomenclature. 
55 
The reference to regions with a GDP per capita below 75 % of the [Community] average was 
introduced by the Commission communication on the method for the application of Article 92(3)(a) and 
(c) to regional aid (OJ C 212, 12.8.1988, p. 2). 
56 
In all subsequent references to GDP per capita, GDP is measured in PPS. 
57 
The data cover the period 2008-2010. In all subsequent references to GDP per capita in relation the EU-
27 average, data are based on the average of Eurostat regional data for 2008-2010. 
27 
 

 
5.3. 
The derogation in Article 107(3)(c) 
153. 
Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty provides that ‘aid to facilitate the development of 
certain economic activities or of certain economic areas, where such aid does not 
adversely affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest’ may 
be considered to be compatible with the internal market. According to the Court of 
Justice, ‘[t]he exemption in Article [107](3)(c) […] permits the development of 
certain areas without being restricted by the economic conditions laid down in 
Article [107](3)(a), provided such aid “does not adversely affect trading conditions 
to an extent contrary to the common interest”’. That provision gives the Commission 
power to authorise aid intended to further the economic development of areas of a 
Member State which are disadvantaged in relation to the national average’58. 
154. 
The total coverage ceiling for ‘c’ areas in the Union (‘“c” coverage’) is obtained by 
subtracting the population of the eligible ‘a’ areas in the Union from the overall 
coverage ceiling laid down in paragraph 148.  
155. 
There are two categories of ‘c’ areas: 
(a)  areas that fulfil certain pre-established conditions and that a Member State may 
therefore designate as ‘c’ areas without any further justification (‘predefined 
“c” areas’); 
(b)  areas that a Member State may, at its own discretion, designate as ‘c’ areas 
provided that the Member State demonstrates that such areas fulfil certain 
socioeconomic criteria (‘non-predefined “c” areas’). 
5.3.1. 
Predefined ‘c’ areas 
5.3.1.1.  Specific allocation of ‘c’ coverage for predefined ‘c’ areas 
156. 
The Commission considers that each Member State concerned must have sufficient 
‘c’ coverage to be able to designate as ‘c’ areas the regions that were ‘a’ areas in the 
regional aid map during the period 2011-201359.  
157. 
The Commission also considers that each Member State concerned must have 
sufficient ‘c’ coverage to be able to designate as ‘c’ areas the regions that have a low 
population density.  
158. 
Accordingly, the following areas will be considered as predefined ‘c’ areas: 
(a)  former ‘a’ areas: NUTS 2 regions that were designated as ‘a’ areas during the 
period 2011-201360; 
(b)  sparsely populated areas: NUTS 2 regions with less than 8 inhabitants per km² 
or NUTS 3 regions with less than 12.5 inhabitants per km² (based on Eurostat 
data on population density for 2010). 
                                                            
58 
Judgment of 14 October 1987 in Case 248/84 Germany v Commission (ECR 1987, p. 4036, paragraph 
19). 
59 
The list of ‘a’ areas was amended in 2011 (see Communication of the Commission on the review of the 
State aid status and the aid ceiling of the statistical effect regions for the period 1.1.2011-31.12.2013 
(OJ C 222, 17.8.2010, p. 2)). 
60 
Considering that the former ‘a’ areas were designated on the basis of the NUTS 2 regions listed in 
NUTS 2003 nomenclature, only those regions that were ‘a’ areas in the period 2011-2013 can be 
designated as predefined ‘c’ areas, regardless of the changes brought by the NUTS 2006 nomenclature 
or by the NUTS 2010 nomenclature for those regions. 
28 
 

 
159. 
The specific allocation of predefined ‘c’ coverage is set out by Member State in 
Annex I. This specific population allocation may only be used to designate 
predefined ‘c’ areas 
5.3.1.2.  Designation of predefined ‘c’ areas 
160. 
A Member State may designate as ‘c’ areas the predefined ‘c’ areas referred to in 
paragraph 158. 
161. 
For sparsely populated areas, a Member State should in principle designate NUTS 2 
regions with less than 8 inhabitants per km² or NUTS 3 regions with less than 12.5 
inhabitants per km². However, a Member State may designate parts of NUTS 3 
regions with less than 12.5 inhabitants per km² or other contiguous areas adjacent to 
those NUTS 3 regions, provided that the areas designated have less than 12.5 
inhabitants per km² and that their designation does not exceed the specific allocation 
of ‘c’ coverage referred to in paragraph 160.  
5.3.2. 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
5.3.2.1.  Method for the allocation of non-predefined ‘c’ coverage among Member States 
162. 
The total coverage ceiling for non-predefined ‘c’ areas in the Union is obtained by 
subtracting the population of the eligible ‘a’ areas and of the predefined ‘c’ areas 
from the overall coverage ceiling laid down in paragraph 148. The non-predefined 
‘c’ coverage is allocated among the Member States by applying the method set out in 
Annex II. 
5.3.2.2.  Safety net and minimum population coverage 
163. 
To address the difficulties of Member States that have been particularly affected by 
the economic crisis, the Commission considers that the total coverage of each 
Member State that is benefitting from financial assistance under the facility 
providing medium-term financial assistance for non-euro-area Member States, as 
established by Council Regulation (EC) No 332/200261, the European Financial 
Stability Facility (EFSF)62, the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism 
(EFSM)63 or the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)64 should not be reduced 
compared to the period 2007-2013. 
164. 
To ensure continuity in the regional aid maps and a minimum scope of action for all 
Member States, the Commission considers that each Member State should not lose 
more than half of its total coverage compared to the period 2007-2013 and that each 
Member State should have a minimum population coverage.  
165. 
Accordingly, by way of derogation from the overall coverage ceiling laid down in 
paragraph 148, the ‘c’ coverage for each Member State concerned is increased as 
necessary so that: 
                                                            
61 
Council Regulation (EC) No 332/2002 of 18 February 2002 establishing a facility providing medium-
term financial assistance for Member States’ balances of payments (OJ L 53, 23.2.2002, p. 1). 
62 See 
http://www.efsf.europa.eu/about/legal-documents/index.htm.  
63 
Council Regulation (EU) No 407/2010 of 11 May 2010 establishing a European Financial Stabilisation 
Mechanism (OJ L 118, 12.5.2010, p. 1). 
64 
Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism. 
29 
 

 
(a)  the total ‘a’ and ‘c’ coverage of each Member State, which, on the date of 
adoption of these guidelines, is benefitting from financial assistance under the 
facility providing medium-term financial assistance for non-euro-area Member 
States, the EFSF, the EFSM or the ESM is not reduced compared to the period 
2007-2013; 
(b)  the total ‘a’ and ‘c’ coverage of each Member State concerned is not reduced 
by more than 50 % compared to the period 2007-201365; 
(c)  each Member State has a population coverage of at least 7.5 % of its national 
population66.  
166. 
The non-predefined ‘c’ coverage, including the safety net and the minimum 
population coverage, is set out by Member State in Annex I. 
5.3.2.3.  Designation of non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
167. 
The Commission considers that the criteria used by Member States for designating 
‘c’ areas should reflect the diversity of situations in which the award of regional aid 
may be justified. The criteria should therefore address certain socioeconomic, 
geographical or structural problems likely to be encountered in ‘c’ areas and should 
provide sufficient safeguards that the award of regional State aid will not adversely 
affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest.  
168. 
Accordingly, a Member State may designate as ‘c’ areas the non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
defined on the basis of the following criteria: 
(a)  Criterion 1: contiguous areas of at least 100 000 inhabitants67 located in 
NUTS 2 or NUTS 3 regions that have: 
– 
a GDP per capita below or equal to the EU-27 average, or; 
– 
an unemployment rate above or equal to 115 % of the national average68. 
(b)  Criterion 2: NUTS 3 regions of less than 100 000 inhabitants that have: 
– 
a GDP per capita below or equal to the EU-27 average, or; 
– 
an unemployment rate above or equal to 115 % of the national average.  
(c)  Criterion 3: islands or contiguous areas characterised by similar geographical 
isolation (for example, peninsulas or mountain areas) that have: 
– 
a GDP per capita below or equal to the EU-27 average69, or; 
                                                            
65 
This element of the safety net applies to Cyprus and to Luxembourg. 
66 
This minimum population coverage applies to the Netherlands. 
67 
This population threshold will be reduced to 50 000 inhabitants for Member States that have a non-
predefined ‘c’ coverage of less than 1 million inhabitants or to 10 000 inhabitants for Member States 
whose national population is below 1 million inhabitants. 
68 
For unemployment, calculations should be based on regional data published by the national statistical 
office, using the average of the last three years for which such data are available (at the moment of the 
notification of the regional aid map). Except as otherwise indicated in these guidelines, the 
unemployment rate in relation to the national average is calculated on this basis. 
69 
To determine if such islands or contiguous areas have a GDP per capita below or equal to the EU-27 
average, the Member State may refer to data provided by its national statistical office or other 
recognised sources. 
30 
 

 
– 
an unemployment rate above or equal to 115 % of the national average70, 
or; 
– 
less than 5 000 inhabitants.  
(d)  Criterion 4: NUTS 3 regions, or parts of NUTS 3 regions that form contiguous 
areas, that are adjacent to an ‘a’ area or that share a land border with a country 
outside the EEA or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). 
(e)  Criterion 5: contiguous areas of at least 50 000 inhabitants71 that are 
undergoing major structural change or are in serious relative decline, provided 
that such areas are not located in NUTS 3 regions or contiguous areas that fulfil 
the conditions to be designated as predefined areas or under Criteria 1 to 472.  
169. 
For the purpose of applying the criteria set out in paragraph 169, the notion of 
contiguous areas refers to whole local administrative unit 2 (LAU 2)73 areas or to a 
group of whole LAU 2 areas74. A group of LAU 2 areas will be considered to form a 
contiguous area if each of those areas in the group shares an administrative border 
with another area in the group75.  
170. 
Compliance with the population coverage allowed for each Member State will be 
determined on the basis of the most recent data on the total resident population of the 
areas concerned, as published by the national statistical office. 
5.4. 
Maximum aid intensities applicable to regional investment aid 
171. 
The Commission considers that the maximum aid intensities applicable to regional 
investment aid must take into account the nature and scope of the disparities between 
the levels of development of the different regions in the Union. The aid intensities 
should therefore be higher in ‘a’ areas than in ‘c’ areas.  
5.4.1. 
Maximum aid intensities in ‘a’ areas 
172. 
The aid intensity in ‘a’ areas must not exceed: 
                                                            
70 
To determine if such islands or contiguous areas have an unemployment rate above or equal to 115 % 
of the national average, the Member State may refer to data provided by its national statistical office or 
other recognised sources. 
71 
This population threshold will be reduced to 25 000 inhabitants for Member States that have a non-
predefined ‘c’ coverage of less than 1 million inhabitants, to 10 000 inhabitants for Member States 
whose total population is below 1 million inhabitants, or to 5 000 inhabitants for islands or contiguous 
areas characterised by similar geographical isolation. 
72 
For the purpose of applying Criterion 5, the Member State must demonstrate that the applicable 
conditions are fulfilled by comparing the areas concerned with the situation of other areas in the same 
Member State or in other Member States on the basis of socioeconomic indicators concerning structural 
business statistics, labour markets, household accounts, education, or other similar indicators. For this 
purpose, the Member State may refer to data provided by its national statistical office or other 
recognised sources. 
73 
The Member State may refer to LAU 1 areas in place of LAU 2 areas if those LAU 1 areas have a 
smaller population than the LAU 2 area which they form part of. 
74 
The Member State may nevertheless designate parts of an LAU 2 area (or LAU 1 area), provided that 
the population of the LAU area concerned exceeds the minimum population required for contiguous 
areas under Criteria 1 or 5 (including the reduced population thresholds for those criteria) and that the 
population of the parts of that LAU area is at least 50 % of the minimum population required under the 
applicable criterion. 
75 
In the case of islands, administrative borders include maritime borders with other administrative units of 
the Member State concerned. 
31 
 

 
(a)  50 % GGE in NUTS 2 regions whose GDP per capita is below or equal to 
45 % of the EU-27 average;  
(b)  35 % GGE in NUTS 2 regions whose GDP per capita is between or equal to 
45 % and 60 % of the EU-27 average;  
(c)  25 % GGE in NUTS 2 regions with a GDP per capita above 60 % of the EU-27 
average. 
173. 
The maximum aid intensities laid down in paragraph 172 may be increased by up to 
20 percentage points in outermost regions that have a GDP per capita below or equal 
to 75 % of the EU-27 average or by up to 10 percentage points in other outermost 
regions. 
5.4.2. 
Maximum aid intensities in ‘c’ areas 
174. 
The aid intensity must not exceed: 
(a)  15 % GGE in sparsely populated areas and in areas (NUTS 3 regions or parts 
of NUTS 3 regions) that share a land border with a country outside the EEA or 
the EFTA; 
(b)  10 % GGE in non-predefined ‘c’ areas. 
175. 
In the former ‘a’ areas the aid intensity of 10 % GGE may be increased by up to 5 
percentage points from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2017. 
176. 
If a ‘c’ area is adjacent to an ‘a’ area, the maximum aid intensity in the NUTS 3 
regions or parts of NUTS 3 regions within that ‘c’ area which are adjacent to the ‘a’ 
area may be increased as necessary so that the difference in aid intensity between the 
two areas does not exceed 15 percentage points. 
5.4.3. 
Increased aid intensities for SMEs 
177. 
The maximum aid intensities laid down in Subsections 5.4.1 and 5.4.2 may be 
increased by up to 20 percentage points for small enterprises or by up to 10 
percentage points for medium-sized enterprises76.  
5.5. 
Notification and declaration of compatibility 
178. 
Following the publication of these guidelines in the Official Journal of the European 
Union
, each Member State should notify to the Commission a single regional aid 
map applicable from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2020. Each notification should 
include the information specified in the form in Annex III. 
179. 
The Commission will examine each notified regional aid map on the basis of these 
guidelines and will adopt a decision approving the regional aid map for the Member 
State concerned. Each regional aid map will be published in the Official Journal and 
will constitute an integral part of these guidelines.  
5.6. Amendments 
5.6.1. Population 
reserve 
180. 
On its own initiative, a Member State may decide to establish a reserve of national 
population coverage consisting of the difference between the population coverage 
                                                            
76 
The increased aid intensities for SMEs will not apply to aid awarded for large investment projects. 
32 
 

 
ceiling for that Member State, as allocated by the Commission77, and the coverage 
used for the ‘a’ and ‘c’ areas designated in its regional aid map. 
181. 
If a Member State has decided to establish such a reserve, it may, at any time, use the 
reserve to add new ‘c’ areas in its map until its national coverage ceiling is reached. 
For this purpose, the Member State may refer to the most recent socioeconomic data 
provided by Eurostat or by its national statistical office or other recognised sources. 
The population of the ‘c’ areas concerned should be calculated on the basis of the 
population data used for establishing the initial map. 
182. 
The Member State must notify the Commission each time it intends to use its 
population reserve to add new ‘c’ areas prior to putting into effect such amendments. 
5.6.2. Mid-term 
review 
183. 
The Commission will establish in June 201678, whether any NUTS 2 region79, which 
is not listed in Annex I of these guidelines as an ‘a’ area, has a GDP per capita below 
75 % of the EU-28 average, and will publish a communication on the results of this 
analysis. The Commission will establish at that moment whether these identified 
areas may become eligible for regional aid under Article 107(3)(a) of the Treaty and 
the level of the aid intensity corresponding to their GDP per capita. If these identified 
areas are designated either as pre-defined ‘c’ areas or as  non-predefined ‘c’ areas in 
the national regional aid map approved by the Commission in accordance with these 
guidelines, the percentage of the specific population allocation for ‘c’ areas indicated 
in Annex I  will be adjusted accordingly. The Commission will publish the 
amendments to Annex I. A Member State may, within the limit of its adjusted 
specific allocation for ‘c’areas80, amend the list of ‘c’ areas contained in its regional 
aid map for the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2020. These 
amendments may not exceed 50 % of each Member State’s adjusted ‘c’ coverage. 
184. 
For the purpose of amending the list of ‘c’ areas, the Member State may refer to data 
on GDP per capita and unemployment rate provided by Eurostat or by its national 
statistical office or other recognised sources, using the average of the last three years 
for which such data are available (at the moment of the notification of the amended 
map). The population of the ‘c’ areas concerned should be calculated on the basis of 
the population data used for establishing the initial map.  
185. 
The Member State must notify the amendments to its map resulting from the 
inclusion of additional ‘a’ areas and from the exchange of ‘c’ areas to the 
Commission prior to putting them into effect and by 1 September 2016 at the latest.  
                                                            
77 
See Annex I. 
78  
For the purpose of this provision, the Commission will use the most recent GDP per capita data 
published by Eurostat at NUTS 2 level on the basis of three-year average. 
79  
Defined on the basis of the NUTS nomenclature in force at the time of the review. 
80  
The adjusted population ceiling will be calculated on the basis of the population data used for 
establishing its initial map. 
33 
 

 
6. APPLICABILITY OF REGIONAL AID RULES 
186. 
The Commission extends the guidelines on national regional aid for 2007-201381 and 
the Communication concerning the criteria for an in-depth assessment of regional aid 
to large investment projects82 until 30 June 2014.  
187. 
The regional aid maps approved on the basis of the guidelines on national regional 
aid for 2007-2013 expire on 31 December 2013. The transition period of six months 
laid down in Article 44(3) of the general block exemption regulation (GBER)83 
therefore does not apply to regional aid schemes implemented under the GBER. To 
grant regional aid after 31 December 2013 on the basis of existing block exempted 
schemes, Member States are invited to notify the prolongation of the regional aid 
maps in due time to allow the Commission to approve a prolongation of those maps 
before 31 December 2013. In general, the schemes approved on the basis of the 
regional aid guidelines 2007-2013 expire at the end of 2013 as stated in the 
corresponding Commission decision. Any prolongation of such schemes must be 
notified to the Commission in due time.  
188. 
The Commission will apply the principles set out in these guidelines for assessing the 
compatibility of all regional aid intended to be awarded after 30 June 2014. Regional 
aid awarded unlawfully or regional aid intended to be awarded after 31 December 
2013 and before 1 July 2014 will be assessed in accordance with the guidelines on 
national regional aid for 2007-2013.  
189. 
Since they must be consistent with the regional aid map, notifications of regional aid 
schemes or of aid measures intended to be awarded after 30 June 2014, cannot be 
considered complete until the Commission has adopted a decision approving the 
regional aid map for the Member State concerned in accordance with the 
arrangements described in Subsection 5.5. Accordingly, the Commission will in 
principle not examine notifications of regional aid schemes which are intended to 
apply after 30 June 2014 or notifications of individual aid intended to be awarded 
after that date before it has adopted a decision approving the regional aid map for the 
Member State concerned. 
190. 
The Commission considers that the implementation of these guidelines will lead to 
substantial changes in the rules applicable to regional aid in the Union. Furthermore, 
in the light of the changed economic and social conditions in the Union, it appears 
necessary to review the continuing justification for and effectiveness of all regional 
aid schemes, including both investment aid and operating aid schemes.  
191. 
For these reasons, the Commission proposes the following appropriate measures to 
Member States pursuant to Article 108(1) of the Treaty: 
(a)  Member States must limit the application of all existing regional aid schemes 
which are not covered under a block exemption regulation and of all regional 
aid map to aid intended to be awarded on or before 30 June 2014; 
                                                            
81 
OJ C 54, 04.03.2006, p 13. 
82 
OJ C 223, 16.9.2009, p.3 
83  
Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008 of 6 August 2008 declaring certain categories of aid 
compatible with the common market in application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty (General block 
exemption Regulation), OJ L 214, 9.8.2008, p.3.  
34 
 

 
(b)  Member States must amend other existing horizontal aid schemes providing 
specific treatment for aid to projects in assisted areas in order to ensure that aid 
to be awarded after 30 June 2014 complies with the regional aid map 
applicable on the date the aid is awarded; 
(c)  Member States should confirm their acceptance of the proposals above by 31 
December 2013. 
7. REPORTING AND MONITORING 
192. 
In accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 of 22 March 1999 laying 
down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty and 
Commission Regulation (EC) No 794/2004 of 21 April 2004 implementing 
Regulation (EC) No 659/1999, Member States must submit annual reports to the 
Commission.  
193. 
Member States shall transmit to the Commission information on each individual aid 
exceeding EUR 3 million granted under a scheme, in the format laid down in Annex 
VI, within 20 working days from the day on which the aid is granted. 
194. 
Member States must maintain detailed records regarding all aid measures. Such 
records must contain all information necessary to establish that the conditions 
regarding eligible costs and maximum aid intensities have been fulfilled. These 
records must be maintained for 10 years from the date of award of the aid and must 
be provided to the Commission upon request.  
8. REVISION 
195. 
The Commission may decide to amend these guidelines at any time if this should be 
necessary for reasons associated with competition policy or to take account of other 
Union policies and international commitments or for any other justified reason. 
35 
 

 
Annex I – Regional aid coverage by Member States for 2014-2020 
Belgium 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita84 
population85 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
BE32 Prov. Hainaut 
77.33 
12.06 % 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
17.89 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
29.95 % 
 
Bulgaria 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
BG31 Северозападен / 
27.00 11.88 

Severozapaden 
BG32 Северен централен / 
29.33 12.06 

Severen tsentralen 
BG33 Североизточен / 
36.33 13.08 

Severoiztochen 
BG34 Югоизточен / 
36.00 14.75 

Yugoiztochen 
BG41 Югозападен / 
74.33 28.05 

Yugozapaden 
BG42 Южен централен / 
30.00 20.19 

Yuzhen tsentralen 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Czech Republic 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
CZ02 Střední Čechy 73.00 
11.95 

CZ03 Jihozápad 
69.33 
11.50 % 
CZ04 Severozápad 
64.33 
10.87 % 
CZ05 Severovýchod 
65.67 
14.36 % 
CZ06 Jihovýchod 
73.33 
15.86 % 
                                                            
84 
Measured in PPS, three-year average for 2008-2010 (EU-27 = 100). 
85 
Based on Eurostat population data for 2010. 
36 
 

 
CZ07 Střední Morava 
64.67 
11.72 % 
CZ08 Moravskoslezsko 
68.00 
11.83 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
88.10 % 
 
Denmark 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
7.97 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
7.97 % 
 
Germany 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
DE40 Brandenburg* 81.67 
1.37 

DE80 Mecklenburg-
80.00 2.01 

Vorpommern 
DED2 Dresden 
86.00 
1.99 % 
DED4 Chemnitz 
81.33 
1.88 % 
DEE0 Sachsen-Anhalt* 81.67 
1.89 

DEG0 Thüringen 
78.67 
2.74 % 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
13.95 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
25.85 % 
* Only the part of DE40 Brandenburg corresponding to the former NUTS 2 region DE41 Brandenburg – Nordost 
and the part of DEE0 Sachsen-Anhalt corresponding to the former the NUTS 3 regions DEE1 Dessau and DEE3 
Magdeburg (as set out in the NUTS 2003 nomenclature) are  included as predefined ‘c’ areas. When notifying the 
regional aid map, and in order to facilitate the mid-term review foreseen at NUTS 2 level in Subsection 5.6.2 of 
these guidelines, Germany can decide to designate as predefined ‘c’ areas the whole of the NUTS 2 regions of 
DE40 Brandenburg and DEE0 Sachsen-Anhalt, provided that the percentage of the national population available 
for non-predefined ‘c’ areas is reduced accordingly. 
 
Estonia 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
EE00 Eesti 
65.00 
100.00 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
37 
 

 
Ireland 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
51.28 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
51.28 % 
 
Greece 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
EL11 Aνατολική 
68.00 5.36 

Μακεδονία, Θράκη / 
Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki 
 
EL12 Κεντρική Μακεδονία / 
72.33 17.29 

Kentriki Makedonia 
EL14 Θεσσαλία / Thessalia 
69.33 
6.51 % 
EL21 Ήπειρος / Ipeiros 
63.33 
3.17 % 
EL23 Δυτική Ελλάδα / 
65.00 6.59 

Dytiki Ellada 
 EL25 
Πελοπόννησος / 
74.00 5.22 

Peloponnisos 
 EL41 
Βόρειο Αιγαίο / Voreio 
75.00 1.77 

Aigaio 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
EL13 Δυτική Μακεδονία / 
83.67 2.59 

Dytiki Makedonia 
EL22 Ιόνια Νησιά / Ionia 
82.67 2.07 

Nisia 
EL43 Κρήτη / Kriti 
83.33 
5.42 % 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (sparsely populated 
EL243 Ευρυτανία / 
 0.17 

areas) 
Evrytania 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
43.84 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
 
 
100.00 % 
 
Spain 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
ES43 Extremadura 
70.67 
2.35 % 
38 
 

 
ES70 Canarias 
87.33 
4.55 % 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
ES11 Galicia 
91.33 
5.94 % 
ES42 Castilla-La Mancha 
82.33 
4.43 % 
ES61 Andalucía 
78.00 
17.88 % 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (sparsely populated 
ES242 Teruel 
— 
0.31 % 
areas) 
ES417 Soria 
— 
0.20 % 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
33.00 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
68.66 % 
 
France 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
FR91 Guadeloupe 
60.67 
0.69 % 
FR92 Martinique 
73.67 
0.61 % 
FR93 Guyane 
52.33 
0.36 % 
FR94 Réunion 
68.00 
1.27 % 
Saint-Martin* : 

Mayotte* : 

Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
21.24 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
24.17 % 
* Saint-Martin and Mayotte are outermost regions but are not included in the 2010 NUTS nomenclature as their 
administrative status was modified under national law in 2007 and 2011 respectively. To determine the maximum 
aid intensity applicable in these two outermost regions, France may refer to data provided by its national 
statistical office or other recognised sources. 
 
Italy 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
ITF3 Campania 
65.67 
9.64 % 
ITF4 Puglia 
67.67 
6.76 % 
ITF5 Basilicata 
72.67 
0.97 % 
ITF6 Calabria 
66.67 
3.32 % 
ITG1 Sicilia 
67.33 
8.34 % 
39 
 

 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
5.03 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
34.07 % 
 
Cyprus 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
50.00 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
50.00 
 
Latvia 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
LV00 Latvija 
55.33 
100.00 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Lithuania 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
LT00 Lietuva 
61.33 
100.00 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Luxembourg 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
8.00 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
8.00 % 
 
Hungary 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
HU21 Közép-Dunántúl 
56.33 
10.96 % 
HU22 Nyugat-Dunántúl 
62.67 
9.96 % 
HU23 Dél-Dunántúl 
44.33 
9.44 % 
HU31 Észak-Magyarország 
40.00 
12.02 % 
40 
 

 
HU32 Észak-Alföld 
41.00 
14.87 % 
HU33 Dél-Alföld 
42.67 
13.13 % 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
6.33 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
76.71 % 
 
Malta 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
MT00 Malta 
83.67 
100.00 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Netherlands 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
7.5 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
7.5 % 
 
Austria 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
25.87 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
25.87 % 
 
Poland 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
PL11 Łódzkie 55.00 
6.65 

PL21 Małopolskie 51.33 
8.65 

PL22 Śląskie 64.33 
12.15 

PL31 Lubelskie 
40.67 
5.64 % 
PL32 Podkarpackie 
40.67 
5.51 % 
PL33 Świętokrzyskie 46.33 
3.32 

PL34 Podlaskie 
43.67 
3.11 % 
41 
 

 
PL41 Wielkopolskie 
62.67 
8.94 % 
PL42 Zachodniopomorskie 
52.67 
4.43 % 
PL43 Lubuskie 
51.00 
2.65 % 
PL51 Dolnośląskie 65.33 
7.53 

PL52 Opolskie 
49.00 
2.70 % 
PL61 Kujawsko-Pomorskie 
50.67 
5.42 % 
PL62 Warmińsko-Mazurskie 44.33 
3.74 

PL63 Pomorskie 
57.33 
5.85 % 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
PL12 Mazowieckie 
96.00 
13.70 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Portugal 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
PT11 Norte 
63.67 
35.19 % 
PT16 Centro (PT) 
66.00 
22.36 % 
PT18 Alentejo 
72.33 
7.06 % 
PT20 Região Autónoma dos 
74.33 2.31 

Açores 
PT30 Região Autónoma da 
104.00 2.33 

Madeira 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
15.77 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
85.02 % 
 
Romania 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
RO11 Nord-Vest 
42.33 
12.68 % 
RO12 Centru 
45.00 
11.77 % 
RO21 Nord-Est 
29.33 
17.30 % 
RO22 Sud-Est 
37.67 
13.09 % 
RO31 Sud – Muntenia 
39.33 
15.21 % 
RO41 Sud-Vest Oltenia 
35.67 
10.45 % 
42 
 

 
RO42 Vest 
52.00 
8.94 % 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
RO32 Bucureşti – Ilfov 
113.00 
10.56 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Slovenia 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
SI01 Vzhodna Slovenija 
71.67 
52.92 % 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (former ‘a’ areas) 
SI02 Zahodna Slovenija 
104.00 
47.08 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
100.00 % 
 
Slovakia 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
SK02 Západné Slovensko 
68.33 
34.37 % 
SK03 Stredné Slovensko 
58.67 
24.87 % 
SK04 Východné Slovensko 
49.67 
29.24 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
88.48 % 
 
Finland 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (sparsely populated 
FI1D1 Etelä-Savo 
— 
2.89 % 
areas) 
FI1D2 Pohjois-Savo 
— 
4.63 % 
FI1D3 Pohjois-Karjala 
— 
3.09 % 
FI1D4 Kainuu 
— 
1.54 % 
FI1D5 Keski-Pohjanmaa 
— 
1.27 % 
FI1D6 Pohjois-Pohjanmaa 
— 
7.34 % 
FI1D7 Lappi 
— 
3.42 % 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
1.85 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
26.03 % 
 
43 
 

 
Sweden 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (sparsely populated 
SE312 Dalarnas län 
— 
2.94 % 
areas) 
SE321 Västernorrlands län 
— 
2.58 % 
SE322 Jämtlands län 
— 
1.35 % 
SE331 Västerbottens län 
— 
2.75 % 
SE332 Norrbottens län 
— 
2.64 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
12.26 % 
 
United Kingdom 
NUTS regions 
GDP 
Percentage of 
per 
national 
capita 
population 
‘a’ areas 
UKK3 Cornwall and the 
72.67 0.86 

Isles of Scilly 
UKL1 West Wales and The 
69.67 3.05 

Valleys 
Predefined ‘c’ areas (sparsely populated 
UKM61 Caithness & 
— 0.15 

areas) 
Sutherland and Ross & 
Cromarty 
UKM63 Lochaber, Skye & 
— 0.16 

Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae 
and Argyll & Bute 
UKM64 Eilean Siar 
— 0.04 

(Western Isles) 
Non-predefined ‘c’ areas 
— 
— 
22.79 % 
Total population coverage 2014-2020 
— 
— 
27.05 % 
44 
 

 
Annex II – Method to be used for the allocation of non-predefined ‘c’ coverage among 
Member States 
The Commission will determine the non-predefined ‘c’ coverage for each Member State concerned by 
applying the following method:  
(1) 
For each Member State, the Commission will identify those NUTS 3 regions in the 
Member State concerned that are not situated in any of the following areas: 
– 
eligible ‘a’ areas set out in Annex I;  
– 
former ‘a’ areas set out in Annex I; 
– 
sparsely populated areas set out in Annex I. 
(2) 
Within the NUTS 3 regions identified under Step 1, the Commission will identify 
those that have either:  
– 
a GDP per capita86 below or equal to the national GDP per capita disparity 
threshold87, or; 
– 
an unemployment88 rate above or equal to the national unemployment disparity 
threshold89, or above or equal to 150 % of the national average, or; 
– 
a GDP per capita below or equal to 90 % of the EU-27 average, or; 
– 
an unemployment rate above or equal to 125 % of the EU-27 average.  
(3) 
The allocation of non-predefined ‘c’ coverage for Member State (A ) is determined 
i
according to the following formula (expressed as a percentage of the EU-27 
population): 
Ai = pi / P × 100 
where:  
p  is the population90 of the NUTS 3 regions in Member State 
i
i identified under Step 
2. 
P is the sum of the population of the NUTS 3 regions in the EU-27 identified under 
Step 2. 
                                                            
86 
All GDP per capita referred to in this annex are based on the average of the last three years for which 
Eurostat data are available, that is to say 2008-2010 for GDP per capita.  
87 
The national GDP per capita disparity threshold for Member State i (TG ) is determined according to 
i
the following formula (expressed as a percentage of national GDP per capita):  
 (TG)  = 85 × ((1 + 100 / g ) / 2) 
i
i
 where: 
g  is the GDP per capita of Member State 
i
i, expressed as a percentage of the EU-27 average.  
88 
All unemployment data referred to in this annex are based on the average of the last three years for 
which Eurostat data are available, that is to say 2010-2012. However, these data do not contain 
information at NUTS 3 level and therefore unemployment data for the NUTS 2 region in which those 
NUTS 3 regions are situated are used.  
89 
The national unemployment rate disparity threshold for Member State i (TU ) is determined according 
i
to the following formula (expressed as a percentage of the national unemployment rate):  
 (TU)  = 115 × ((1 + 100 / u ) / 2) 
i
i
 where: 
u is the national unemployment rate of Member State 

i, expressed as a percentage of the EU-27 
average.  
90 
Population figures for NUTS 3 regions are established on the basis of the population data used by 
Eurostat to calculate the regional GDP per capita for 2010. 
45 
 

 
Annex III – Form for providing information on the regional aid maps 
(1) 
Member States must provide information for each of the following categories of 
areas proposed for designation, if applicable: 
– 
‘a’ areas; 
– 
former ‘a’ areas; 
– 
sparsely populated areas;  
– 
non-predefined areas ‘c’ areas designated on the basis of Criterion 1; 
– 
non-predefined areas ‘c’ areas designated on the basis of Criterion 2; 
– 
non-predefined areas ‘c’ areas designated on the basis of Criterion 3; 
– 
non-predefined areas ‘c’ areas designated on the basis of Criterion 4; 
– 
non-predefined areas ‘c’ areas designated on the basis of Criterion 5; 
(2) 
Under each category, the Member State concerned must provide the following 
information for each proposed area:  
– 
identification of the area (using the NUTS 2 or NUTS 3 region code of the 
area, the LAU 2 or LAU 1 code of the areas that form the contiguous area or 
other official denominations of the administrative units concerned);  
– 
the proposed aid intensity in the area for the period 2014-2020 or, for former 
‘a’ areas, for the periods 2014-2017 and 2018-2020 (indicating any increase of 
aid intensity as under paragraphs 173, 175 or 176 and 177, if applicable); 
– 
the total resident population of the area, as stated in paragraph 171. 
(3) 
For the sparsely populated areas and the non-predefined areas designated on the basis 
of Criteria 1-5, a Member State must provide adequate proof that each of the 
applicable conditions laid down in paragraphs 161 and 168-170 is fulfilled. 
46 
 

 
Annex IV – Definition of the steel sector 
For the purpose of these guidelines, ‘steel sector’ means all activities related to the production of one 
or more of the following products: 
(a) 
pig iron and ferro-alloys: pig iron for steelmaking, foundry and other pig iron, 
spiegeleisen and high-carbon ferro-manganese, not including other ferro-alloys; 
(b) 
crude and semi-finished products of iron, ordinary steel or special steel: liquid steel 
cast or not cast into ingots, including ingots for forging semi-finished products: 
blooms, billets and slabs; sheet bars and tinplate bars; hot-rolled wide coils, with the 
exception of production of liquid steel for castings from small and medium-sized 
foundries; 
(c) 
hot finished products of iron, ordinary steel or special steel: rails, sleepers, fishplates, 
soleplates, joists, heavy sections 80 mm and over, sheet piling, bars and sections of 
less than 80 mm and flats of less than 150 mm, wire rod, tube rounds and squares, 
hot-rolled hoop and strip (including tube strip), hot-rolled sheet (coated or uncoated), 
plates and sheets of 3 mm thickness and over, universal plates of 150 mm and over, 
with the exception of wire and wire products, bright bars and iron castings; 
(d) 
cold finished products: tinplate, terneplate, blackplate, galvanized sheets, other 
coated sheets, cold-rolled sheets, electrical sheets and strip for tinplate, cold-rolled 
plate, in coil and in strip; 
(e) 
tubes: all seamless steel tubes, welded steel tubes with a diameter of over 406.4 mm.  
Annex IV – Definition of the synthetic fibres sector 
For the purpose of these guidelines, ‘synthetic fibres sector’ means: 
(a) 
extrusion/texturisation of all generic types of fibre and yarn based on polyester, 
polyamide, acrylic or polypropylene, irrespective of their end-uses; or 
(b) 
polymerisation (including polycondensation) where it is integrated with extrusion in 
terms of the machinery used; or 
(c) 
any ancillary process linked to the contemporaneous installation of 
extrusion/texturisation capacity by the prospective beneficiary or by another 
company in the group to which it belongs and which, in the specific business activity 
concerned, is normally integrated with such capacity in terms of the machinery used. 
47 
 

 
Annex V – Application form for regional investment aid 
 
1.Information about the aid beneficiary:  
•  Name, registered address of main seat, main sector of activity (NACE Code),  
•  Declaration that the firm is not in difficulty as defined under the rescue and 
restructuring guidelines 
•  Declaration specifying aid (both de minimis and State aid) already received for other 
projects in the last 3 years in the same NUTS 3 area where the new investment will be 
located. Declaration specifying regional aid received or to be received for the same 
project by other granting authorities. 
•  Declaration specifying whether the company has closed a same or similar activity in 
the EEA two years preceding the date of this application form  
•  Declaration specifying whether the company has the intention to close down such an 
activity at the moment of aid application within a period of two years after the 
investment to be subsidised is completed.  
2. Information about the project/activity to be supported:  
•  Short description of the project/activity.  
•  Short description of expected positive effects for the area concerned (for example,. 
number of jobs created or safeguarded, R&D&I activities, training activities, creation 
of a cluster) 
•  Relevant legal basis (national, EU or both) 
•  Planned starting date and -end date of the project/activity  
•  Location(s) of the project 
3. Information about the financing of the project/activity:  
•  Investments and other costs linked to it, cost benefit analysis for notified aid measures 
•  Total eligible costs  
•  Aid amount needed to execute project/activity 
•  Aid intensity 
4. Information about the need for aid and its expected impact: 
•  Short explanation of the need for aid and its impact on the investment decision or 
location decision. Alternative investment or location in absence of aid shall be 
indicated. 
•  Declaration of absence of an irrevocable agreement between the beneficiary and 
contractors to conduct the project  
 
 
48 
 

 
Annex VI- Form for the transmission of information to the Commission under 
Paragraph 19
3 
Aid reference 
 
Member State 
 
Granting 
Name  
 
authority 
Web address 
 
Name of the 
 
beneficiary, VAT 
number and the 
group it belongs to 

Type of 
SME 
 
beneficiary 
 
Large enterprise 
 
Region in which Name of the Region  Regional aid status92 
the 

(NUTS91)  
 
investment/activity 
is located 

Economic sector(s)  NACE Rev. 2 and short description 
in which the 
beneficiary is 
active 
 
Aid element, 
 
expressed as full 
amount in national 
currency93 
Aid instrument94  
Grant/Interest rate subsidy 
 
Loan/Repayable advances/Reimbursable 
 
grant  
Guarantee (where appropriate with a reference   
to the Commission decision95)  
                                                            
91 
NUTS - Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. Typically, the region is specified at level 2.  
92 
Article 107(3)(a) TFEU (status 'A'), Article 107(3)(c) TFEU (status 'C'), unassisted areas i.e. areas not 
eligible for regional aid (status 'N').  
93 
Gross grant equivalent, or for risk finance schemes, the amount of the public investment 
94 
If the aid is granted through multiple aid instruments, the aid amount shall be provided by instrument 
49 
 





 
Tax advantage or tax exemption  
 
Other (please specify)  
 
Date of granting 
dd/mm/yyyy 
Objective of the  
aid 
legal basis, 
 
including the 
implementing 
provisions and, 
where appropriate, 
the scheme under 
which the aid is 
granted 
 
 
 
                                                                                                                                                                                          
95 
Where appropriate, reference to the Commission decision approving the methodology to calculate the 
gross grant equivalent.  
50 
 

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