State aid: Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on proposed revision of Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

The European Commission has launched today a targeted public consultation inviting all interested parties to comment on a proposed targeted revision of the Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments (the “Risk Finance Guidelines”). Interested parties can respond to the consultation for eight weeks, until 16 July 2021.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Access to finance is essential for Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises to make the most of their growth potential and lead the green and digital transitions. That’s why we are further simplifying our existing State aid rules. We want to make it easier for Member States to give access to finance when the market doesn’t deliver. Of course ensuring that possible competition distortions are kept to a minimum. We now invite all interested parties to share their views.”

The Risk Finance Guidelines aim at facilitating access to finance by European small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) and companies with a medium capitalization (the so-called “mid-caps”). They are in particular targeted at innovative and growth-oriented SMEs and certain types of mid-caps in the early stages of their development, which may face difficulties in gaining access to finance, despite their business potential. To tackle such market failures, the Risk Finance Guidelines enable Member States, subject to certain conditions, to address this funding gap by attracting, through the provision of State aid, additional investments into the eligible SMEs and mid-caps through well-designed financial instruments and fiscal measures.

The Commission has conducted an evaluation of the current Risk Finance Guidelines as part of the State aid Fitness Check. The evaluation revealed that the current provisions of the Risk Finance Guidelines work well and they are overall fit for purpose.

At the same time, the evaluation also showed that some targeted adjustments, including clarifications of some concepts and further streamlining, may be needed to further simplify the existing rules and clarify their application. In this context, the Commission is proposing a number of targeted changes to the current rules:

  • Further clarifying certain concepts, in particular with respect to the evidence needed to demonstrate the existence of a specific market failure or other relevant obstacles in accessing finance, in line with the existing case practice. In this respect, the Fitness Check showed that Member States have difficulties in quantifying the funding gap. The draft Guidelines therefore propose to limit the need to provide a funding gap analysis for the largest risk finance aid measures, in particular those that allow amounts above €15 million per individual beneficiary.
  • Focusing the provisions in the draft Guidelines on the compatibility of risk finance aid to avoid unnecessary overlaps with the Commission Notice on the Notion of aid. The Notice, adopted in 2016, provides guidance on whether or not public interventions can be deemed to constitute State aid. For this reason, it appears to be no longer necessary to keep a similar guidance in the revised Risk Finance Guidelines. Furthermore, the Commission continues to be available to provide targeted advice to Member States and stakeholders.
  • Streamlining existing provisions and aligning certain definitions included in the draft Guidelines with those included in the General Block Exemption Regulation (“GBER”) to ensure consistency, without changing the substance of the rules. Notably, the definition of ‘innovative mid-caps’ under the draft Guidelines is aligned with the definition of ‘innovative enterprises’ under the GBER to remove the current inconsistencies on what companies are considered ‘innovative’ under the two sets of rules.
  • Streamlining the structure of the Guidelines. This consists, in particular, in the consolidation under one single section the requirements for the ex ante assessment that the notifying Member State needs to submit to the Commission in order to demonstrate why the aid measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate (these requirements are currently included in different sections). This aims at increasing readability of the draft Guidelines, thus easing their application and providing more clarity to the Member States.

The draft Risk Finance Guidelines and all the details about the targeted public consultation, including more detail about the proposed changes, are available online.

Next steps

In addition to the targeted consultation launched today, the draft Risk Finance Guidelines will also be discussed in a meeting between the Commission and Member States that will take place in the second half of the consultation period. This process will ensure that both Member States and other interested parties will have sufficient opportunities to comment on the draft Commission proposal.

The adoption of the new Risk Finance Guidelines is foreseen for the last quarter of 2021.


The Risk Finance Guidelines set out the conditions under which State aid granted by Member States to promote risk finance investments may be considered compatible with the Single Market.

The Guidelines apply to all risk finance aid measures that do not fall within the scope of the GBER, which in turn, enable Member States to directly implement risk finance State aid measures directly without prior notification to the Commission, subject to certain conditions (e.g. only for SMEs and for amounts up to €15 million per beneficiary).

The GBER provisions on risk finance aid are also being revised to ensure they remain consistent with the Risk Finance Guidelines. A targeted public consultation on the proposed changes to these GBER provisions will take place in the coming months.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This farmer used an age-old technique to save his soil and now his farm is prospering

Stronger partnerships with post-conflict countries needed to ensure ‘path towards durable peace’: UN chief

EU consumer rules: Airbnb cooperates with European Commission and EU consumer authorities improving the way it presents offers

Assembly President launches new initiative to purge plastics and purify oceans

To feed 10 billion people, we must preserve biodiversity. Here’s how

Fragile countries risk being ‘stuck in a cycle of conflict and climate disaster,’ Security Council told

State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Women’s rights: MEPs call for action to fight backlash against gender equality

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

Reusable packaging: 6 benefits beyond sustainability

Our present and future tax payments usurped by banks

Aviation Safety: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

Eurozone stagnates after exporting its recession to trading partners

Juncker Plan reaches almost €410 billion in triggered investment across the EU

Technology can transform clinical practice – here’s how

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

The Cold War had an unintended side effect: It created a European wildlife paradise

‘Counter and reject’ leaders who seek to ‘exploit differences’ between us, urges Guterres at historic mosque in Cairo

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

How our food system is eating away at nature, and our future

Medical workforce migration in Europe – Is it really a problem?

Four things workers want implemented by their bosses post-pandemic

‘Unlock opportunities’ and pave the way for sustainable development, UN chief urges on World Population Day

This Japanese experiment shows how easily coronavirus can spread – and what you can do about it

EU and Georgia sign Financing Agreements for COVID-19 Recovery worth €129 million

Security Council urges countries to factor child protection into conflict prevention efforts

Peer-to-peer learning: a way to develop medical students’ trainings

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is driving Globalization 4.0

MEPs demand safe and clean travel

3 ways to stop COVID-19 from drying up start-up talent pools

European Business Summit 2015: In search of a vision for the future

Apple® logo (copyright: Apple)

Apple takes further step into music: EU Regulators formally approve its planned Shazam acquisition

How do we upskill a billion people by 2025? Leadership and collaboration will be key

Palliative care: an indispensable component for a better quality of life

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

Unity, regional cooperation and international support needed for Horn of Africa to develop sustainably

How we can work together in the fight against NCDs

The first-ever climate telethon has raised $2.6 million for new forests

Parliament approves seven-year EU budget 2021-2027

Anti-terror measures against youngsters’ online posts ‘linked to spike in child detention globally’

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

How the world’s best teacher is changing lives in Africa

Coronavirus: Commission approves contract with BioNTech-Pfizer alliance to ensure access to a potential vaccine

Mindfulness: a freedom we can still have in the pandemic

Obama turns the G20 summit into warmongering platform

Cheese energy could power hundreds of UK homes

COVID-19: MEPs fear impact on justice system and threat to rule of law

Greek citizens to pay the price again but Tsipras risks losing next elections

5 lessons for community-focused planning during a pandemic

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Mental health In Times of a Pandemic: What can each Individual to lessen the Burden.

WHO and UNICEF in campaign to protect 1.6 million in Sudan from cholera

UN ready to rise above political fray and help Venezuelans based ‘on need, and need alone’

Commission notifies the Republic of Panama over the need to step up action to fight against illegal fishing

This man is helping explorers carry out scientific research at the ends of the Earth

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Cows, coffee and sustainable farming

“Smoking steam instead of tobacco, are the E-cigarettes a safer alternative?”

Wages are flatlining around the world – is automation to blame?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s