COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION Guidelines on regional State aid
The European Commission has adopted revised EU guidelines on regional State aid (Regional Aid Guidelines), setting out the rules under which Member States can grant State aid to companies to support the economic development of disadvantaged areas in the EU. While the UK is not an EU Member State these Guidelines are relevant as Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol provides that EU State aid rules will continue to apply to the UK in respect of measures which affect trade in goods and electricity between NI and the EU.
Regional aid that is permitted under the Guidelines may only be granted in Assisted Areas. These areas are either predefined by the EU for the most underdeveloped areas or allocated by the Member State for other areas that meet the criteria for assisted area status from the percentage of population coverage that has been assigned to them by the EU. The coverage for a Member State is assigned based on the latest available Eurostat statistics on GDP (2016-2018) and unemployment (2017-2019). The guidelines include the level at which aid may be granted (10-15% of eligible investment costs in most Assisted Areas for large companies) and rules on the limited circumstances in which aid may be granted for large companies for existing sites
Northern Ireland continues to be an Assisted Area in its entirety under the new Regional Aid Guidelines, enabling regional aid to continue to be granted as now.