State aid law: New rules for de minimis aid from 2024

  • 12/14/2023
  • Reading time 2 Minutes

The European Commission adopted the two new de minimis regulations on December 13, 2023. These generally cover minor subsidies. The SGEI De Minimis Regulation applies to services of general economic interest. The two new regulations will apply from January 1, 2024

State aid must generally not be granted before it has been notified to and approved by the European Commission (so-called notification obligation and so-called implementation prohibition, Art. 108 (3) sentence 1 and sentence 3 TFEU). Otherwise, there is a risk of the aid being reclaimed.

With the De Minimis Regulation and the SGEI De Minimis Regulation, the European Commission specifies the conditions under which de minimis aid may be granted without notification to the European Commission. In the case of de minimis aid, the European Commission assumes that it has no impact on the Single European Market.

The current regulations expire at the end of 2023. The new regulations will apply until the end of 2030.

Significant changes to the rules on minor subsidies

The main changes provided for by the De Minimis Regulation are as follows:

  • increase in the maximum amount granted to a company by a Member State for a period of three years from EUR 200,000 to EUR 300,000 (gross),
  • the obligation of Member States to record de minimis aid in a central register established at national or EU level from January 1, 2026.

The main changes provided for by the SGEI De Minimis Regulation are as follows:

  • increase in the maximum amount granted to a company by a Member State for a period of three years from EUR 500,000 to EUR 750,000,
  • the obligation of Member States to record SGEI de minimis aid in a central register established at national or EU level from January 1, 2026.

The European Commission is thus significantly adjusting the previous maximum amounts for permissible de minimis aid, in particular with regard to inflation. The introduction of central registers for de minimis aid is also intended to create transparency and reduce existing reporting obligations for companies. Such registers already exist in other member states.

Practical relevance

Public authorities wishing to grant aid, for example, by providing guarantees, shareholder loans or by paying loss compensation, and potential aid recipients must continue to carefully examine whether such aid must be notified to the European Commission. This also applies if companies want to make use of subsidies. The new regulations make things easier in practice by increasing the maximum permissible limits.

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Authors of this article

Dr. Stefan Meßmer

Partner

Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwalt)

Christoph Reinhardt

Manager

Attorney-at-Law (Rechtsanwalt)

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