‘Digital bonus’ under the State aid rules

‘Digital bonus’ under the State aid rules

On 29 October 2020, Belgian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Geert Bourgeois of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:

“On 22 September 2020, Commissioner Vestager announced her intention to create more room under the State aid rules to enable Member States to grant more State aid to projects that bolster the green transition. She referred to this as a ‘green bonus’ to help the EU achieve the green ambitions of the Green Deal. Ms Vestager gave the example of public funding for construction projects which use recycled materials.

In its policy, the Commission consistently highlights two focal points: the green and digital transitions.

1. Does the Commission intend to create a similar ‘digital bonus’?

2. If not, how does it explain the difference in approach with respect to the two focal points?

3. How does the Commission intend to ensure recurrent investment in the digital transition?”

On 3 February 2021, Executive Vice-President Vestager responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The idea of a green bonus was mentioned as a possibility to be explored in the context of the ongoing review of various state aid rules and the general debate on how competition rules can best support the Green Deal. At this stage, the Commission has not taken any decision on the introduction of a green bonus or any other types of bonuses.

Ensuring the necessary public and private investments in the digital transition is a key priority for the Commission. The EU aims to become a digital global leader, setting technical and ethical standards to ensure a widespread, responsible and secure use of digital technologies going further. This would create a proper regulatory environment, which incentivises digital investment and contributes to its security. Cooperation between the Commission, Member States and the private sector is essential in this regard. In addition to the regulatory responsibility taken by the Commission, effective competition enforcement will ensure a well-functioning Single Market and create significant business opportunities for the private sector. In addition, there are several funding opportunities offered through EU programmes such as InvestEU, Digital Europe Programme, Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon Europe. Investment is also promoted by the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which reserves 20% of total funds for the digital transition.”

Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-9-2020-005894_EN.html

Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/illustrations/green-prato-grass-nature-echo-2094275/

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