To Roll Forward or Roll Back? Regional Aid Control 2014+

Wishlade, Fiona (2011) To Roll Forward or Roll Back? Regional Aid Control 2014+. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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Over the past year or so, the fall-out from the financial and economic crisis has continued to dominate the State aid control agenda. The volumes of aid approved in response to the crisis not only dwarf the amounts of aid awarded for other purposes, but also reverse the recent trend of stable or declining State aid expenditure. Nevertheless, as the European economy emerges from the recession, the focus has turned increasingly to exit strategies – particularly the coordination and termination of the various measures in place. At the same time, the new Commissioner for Competition, Joaquin Almunia, has outlined several areas where State aid is either due for reform and/or where it could contribute to wider EU priorities, but so far, regional aid has received little or no explicit attention. This may partly be explained by the continued dominance of the crisis measures on the DG Competition agenda, but it is also likely to be connected with the lack of progress on Cohesion policy reforms for the post-2013 period, itself hampered by discussions on budgetary and wider issues. Notwithstanding this, it appears that DG Comp is now giving consideration to how the State aid rules will apply to regional aid post-2013, though no formal consultations have yet been issued and there are no clear indications as to current thinking.