On 24 September 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Manolis Kefalogiannis of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“The main criterion for designating regions is based on regional GDP per capita in relation to the EU-27 average. According to this criterion, all regions in Greece fulfil the conditions of Article 107 TFEU.
In the analysis of the criteria for designating ‘non-predefined areas’, the reference to Just Transition regions appears only as a footnote.
Can the Commission say:
1. Are the other areas covered by Article 107(3) also exempt from the need to provide supporting documentation in evidence of transition in the same way as Just Transition regions under point 175 (e) of the proposal?
2. Does the above exemption also apply to Just Transition regions in Western Macedonia and the Peloponnese which, like all regions in the country, fulfil the criteria set out in Article 107(3)(a)?
3. Should it prove necessary to step up aid for Just Transition regions covered by Article 107(3)(a), have conditions or criteria been established regarding applications for such aid?”
On 22 January 2021, Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner Elisa Ferreira responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Regional aid Guidelines 2014-2020 have been prolonged for one year and remain in force until 31 December 2021.
In parallel, work is ongoing in revising these Guidelines as announced earlier this year (see the roadmap). The draft Regional aid Guidelines published for stakeholders’ feedback in the context of this revision process define the criteria for identifying the areas that fulfil the conditions of Article 107(3)(a) and (c) of the Treaty. The Commission is currently in the process of reviewing the feedback of stakeholders and cannot prejudge the outcome of the ongoing deliberations.
1. Member States may designate the following areas as ‘a’ areas: Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) 2 regions whose gross domestic product per capita in purchasing power standards is below or equal to 75% of the EU-27 average; and the outermost regions. Those areas are already listed in the annex to the draft Guidelines put to consultation. No further justification by the Member State is needed to have those areas assigned as ‘a’ areas on the regional aid map.
2. The regions of Western Macedonia and Peloponnese are in the draft Guidelines put to consultation considered as ‘a’ areas.
3. The Just Transition Fund proposal allows for support to productive investments in enterprises other than s mall and medium-sized enterprises in assisted areas, under certain conditions. Furthermore, the Commission had invited stakeholders for comments on whether and to what extent it would be appropriate to include in the Guidelines additional measures, based on clear and objective criteria that contribute to the achievement of the Green Deal objectives.”
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