On 19 November 2020, Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) José Ramón Bauzá Díaz of the Renew Europe Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid provides that the cumulated aid to any given undertaking for the transport of goods shall not exceed EUR 200 000 over any period of three years.
In 2019, the Spanish Government undertook to ask the European Commission to modify Regulation No 1407/2013 in order to increase the ceiling of EUR 200 000 for aid for the transport of goods in island territories, taking into account the effects of insularity on undertakings operating on the islands.
In light of the above, I should like to ask the Commission the following:
1. Has the Spanish Government asked the Commission to modify Regulation No 1407/2013 in order to increase the aid ceiling for the transport of goods in island territories?
2. Has the Spanish Government asked the Commission for authorisation not to require compensation for air and sea freight transport in the Balearic Islands to be subject to Regulation No 1407/2013?
3. If so, when was such an application made?”
On 4 February 2021, Executive Vice-President Vestager responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The ceiling laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013 is EUR 200 000 over any period of three fiscal years according to Article 3(1). However, the de minimis Regulation provides for a different ceiling for road freight transport. Pursuant to Article 3(2), the total amount of de minimis aid granted per Member State to a single undertaking performing road freight transport for hire or reward may not exceed EUR 100 000 over any period of three fiscal years.
Aid provided under the de minimis Regulation is deemed not to have any effect on trade between Member States and not to distort or threaten to distort competition. At the same time, other state aid rules enable Member States to provide additional support: in particular, in the transport sector with regard to islands, public service compensation can be granted under public service obligations.
The Commission has recently evaluated most of the state aid rules, including the de minimis Regulation, by means of a so-called ‘fitness check’. The evaluation concluded that, overall, the state aid control system and rules are broadly fit for purpose. However, the individual rules need revision and/or updating. Within the context of that ‘fitness check’, the Commission launched a consultation to gather stakeholders’ experiences with the de minimis Regulation. The Spanish Government did not reply to this survey.
In the context of that ‘fitness check’, to provide predictability and legal certainty, the Commission has prolonged a certain number of state aid rules, including the de minimis Regulation, until 2023.
It is generally for Member States to confirm if they have submitted any state aid notifications to the Commission.”
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