The increasing importance attached to the economic and social cohesion of the European Union since the 1980s, and the role of competition policy in achieving this objective, has special significance for the control of regional aids, given the general ban on State aid. Regional aids are considered to have the potential to contribute to economic and social cohesion and to undermine its attainment. The notion of competition policy as an instrument of economic and social cohesion has become a standard part of Commission rhetoric in defence of its actions.
This book is concerned with the influence of EU competition policy on the regional policies of the Member States. It focuses on how the European Commission has interpreted the derogations from the State aid ban to enable the conduct of regional aid policies.
The book takes both a historical perspective, tracing the evolution of policy, and a thematic one, examining in particular the relationship between EU competition and cohesion policies and the treatment of aid to very large projects. The author clearly demonstrates that, in reality, the competition policy control of regional aids is of much longer standing than the community¿s explicit regional aid policy and, in many respects, of arguably greater influence. She shows how competition policy has for almost thirty years shaped the design, scope and implementation of national regional aid policies; in no EU country has regional policy been unaffected by Commission intervention in the name of competition policy. Moreover, the policy principles developed for the EU now apply extraterritorially to members of the European Economic Area and to the current applicant countries.
The study¿s overall perspective is policy-oriented. It considers both the impact of Commission intervention in the past and the implications of policy for the future, especially in the context of enlargement and a wider Europe. It will be an invaluable resource for all policymakers and practitioners active in the fields of economic development, regional policy and State aid law at European, national and subnational levels.
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Preface and acknowledgements, The foundations of EU competition policy in relation to regional aid A.
The legal basis for State aid control C.
What is a State aid? D.
DefInitions and derogations - the regional policy dimension E.
Concluding points Tentative steps: early developments in regional aid control A.
. The 1971 Principles C.
Refmement and expansion of the approach D.
Early regional aid controls: the principles in practice E.
The treatment of general investment aids F.
Concluding points The 1988 Communication: moves to policy transparency? A.
Key principles ofthe 1988 Communication C.
The 1994 notice: fIne-tuning and enlargement D.
The 1988 Communication in practice E.
Preparation of the new approach F.
Concluding points The 1998 Guidelines: the start of a new era? A.
Consultation and transparency C.
Spatial coverage E.
Area designation methodology F.
Award values G.
Concluding points Regional aid and large investment projects A.
. The rationale for controlling large regional aids C.
Basic principles ofthe 1998 Multisectoral Framework D.
The 1998 Multisectoral Framework in practice E.
The 2002 Multisectoral Framework F
. Implications of the 2002 Multisectoral Framework G.
Concluding points The relationship between EU competition policy and EU regional policy A.
Evolution of the relationship between ED and national regional policies C.
The 1998 Regional Aid Guidelines and the Structural Funds 2000-2006 D.
Concluding points The impact of competition policy on regional aid policies A.
Regional aid and the early decades of Commission control C.
Impact of the 1998 Regional Aid Guidelines D.
Concluding points Enlargement and the future of the Regional Aid Guidelines A.
Article 87(3)(a) C.
Article 87(3)(c) D.
Concluding points Issues and challenges: the future of regional aid control A.
Competition effects of State aid C.
Transparency, discretion and the rule of law D.
Policy coordination E.
State aid, regional development and services of general economic interest F.
State aid expenditure - less, but better? G.
Concluding points Index