THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- welcomes the fact that the European Commission launched a consultation on the review of the guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty, which was open to all stakeholders and sets out a number of options;
- welcomes that the European Commission rejects the idea of limiting the meaning of firms in difficulty to firms that are in formal insolvency proceedings and that it is putting more focus on behavioural measures such as bans on expenditure for expansion and acquisition and on advertising and the payment of dividends;
- welcomes the stepping up of requirements regarding transparency by obliging Member States to publish on-line all of the relevant information on aid granted as well as the clarification regarding the interaction between the mechanism for state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty and state aid for services of general economic interest (SGEIs);
- reiterates its conviction that the process of modernising the state aid mechanism should focus on prohibiting aid likely to have a real and notable impact on the internal market and should reduce the bureaucratic burden for the actors concerned;
- welcomes the confirmation that the Commission has abandoned the goal of a quantitative, undifferentiated reduction in state aid;
- endorses the Commission's proposed non-exhaustive list of situations of social hardship or market failure that justify aid as being in the public interest, including an unemployment rate in the region concerned that is higher than the EU average or the national average and the risk of interruption to the continuity of provision of an SGEI.