State aid block exemption for some public services

DG Competition press release announcing the adoption of a draft "framework" (PDF, 7 pages) and proposed Commission decision (PDF, 14 pages) to exempt from the obligation of notification aid to services of general economic interest that does not meet the Altmark criteria and is therefore State aid under Article 87(1), provided that some conditions, which the Commission considers sufficient to establish an Article 86(2) justification, are met. The main conditions are that the public service obligation and the method for calculating aid should be clearly defined, that the aid should be the minimum necessary, and that there should be arrangements to control and rectify any over-compensation and to ensure availability of information to the Commission. See Public services and competition law | viewpoint: Franck for some relevant background.

The exemption does not apply to transport, except maritime links to islands with annual traffic below 100,000 passengers, or to broadcasting. It is also subject to turnover or aid level limits, with the exception of ferries to islands (where the 100,000 passengers limit applies instead) and hospitals and social housing (where the exemption applies without limit).

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