State aid: more scope for green and digital transformation

Legal Eubdate
6 July 2023

The amended General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) entered into force on 1 July 2023. The GBER declares specific categories of State aid automatically compatible with the internal market. These aid measures may be granted by the Member States without prior notification to the EU Commission.

The main changes to the GBER are as follows:

  • The possibilities for aid in the area of environmental protection and energy are widened, inter alia to support the rollout of renewable energy, decarbonisation projects, green mobility and biodiversity, to facilitate investments in renewable hydrogen, and to increase energy efficiency.
  • The implementation of certain projects with beneficiaries in several Member States, such as Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI projects) in the field of R&D, is facilitated by increasing the aid intensities and the notification thresholds.
  • New articles are introduced to exempt aid measures set up by Member States to regulate energy prices (electricity, gas and heat produced from natural gas or electricity).
  • A new article is introduced to exempt aid for testing and experimentation infrastructures.
  • The possibilities for risk financing aid for SMEs and start-ups, as well as for financial products supported by the InvestEU Fund, are clarified.
  • The notification thresholds for environmental aid and aid for R&D&I are significantly increased. The notification threshold for training aid is also increased from EUR 2 million to EUR 3 million.
  • A general increase in the notification thresholds is implemented to reflect the longer validity period of the GBER.
  • The GBER is extended until 31 December 2026.