The EESC welcomes the European Commission's decision to prolong the State aid Temporary Framework stemming from the pandemic. However, these measures are too exceptional for them to be extended to the general framework and therefore become permanent.
Application of Articles 107 and 108 TFEU to certain categories of horizontal State aid - Related Opinions
The EESC welcomes the fact that the package of regulations on the future multiannual financial framework includes the InvestEU proposal to strengthen investment activity in the EU, including long-term investment projects that are of high public interest, while also respecting the sustainable development criteria. In order to guarantee that this programme operates successfully, the Committee underlines the importance of the involvement of civil society organisations and social and economic partners. The EESC appreciates the European Commission's efforts to create an umbrella financial instrument by the InvestEU programme that will result in unified management, enhanced transparency and potential for synergies. The EESC appreciates the fact that, in addition to promoting sustainable infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research and innovation, the InvestEU programme also focuses on social investment and skills.
The Committee is delighted of the process to update and modernise the guidelines on public aid for businesses in disadvantaged areas and calls on the Commission to make EU policies more consistent with competition policy. The Committee requests that the new guidelines on state aid for the regions give Member States a flexible cross-sectoral instrument and asks for the adoption of more flexible parameters that are better tailored to a dramatically changing economic context.
State aid modernisation is of strategic importance for the EU in a highly competitive globalised economy. The EESC shares in its opinion the Commission's vision but considers that this ambitious reform needs clarification in certain respects. The importance of this reform and of the EESC's opinion is illustrated by the fact that the rapporteur was invited to meet personally with the Commissioner Almunia.