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Competition Policy

Targeted review of the General Block Exemption Regulation (State aid): extension to ports and airports (2nd consultation)

Policy field

State aid


Target group

All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation.


Consultation period

From 13.10.2016 until 08.12.2016


Objective of the consultation

The Commission's State aid Modernisation (SAM) initiative, launched in 2012 and continued since then, aims to boost public support measures that help create growth and jobs whilst focusing State aid control on those measures which have the biggest impact on the internal market.

The General block exemption Regulation (GBER) adopted on 17 June 2014 is a key element in the SAM reform. (Other elements include the de minimis Regulation, the Notice on the Notion of State aid, and two recent packages of decisions confirming that many local support measures do not qualify as State aid of April 2015 and September 2016).

The GBER allows Member States to implement a wide range of public support measures without prior notification to the Commission, in areas such as research and development, environmental protection or support to SMEs. This reduces the administrative burden for public authorities and speeds up delivery of public support, including support granted via EU structural funds.

As a result, 90% of all State aid measures (with a combined annual expenditure of over €33 billion in 2015) are now implemented by Member States under the GBER. The total number of State aid measures notified by Member States for prior approval by the Commission under State aid rules has dropped by two thirds since its entry into force (from 578 in 2013 to 332 in 2014 and 192 in 2015). This allows the Commission to concentrate its State aid investigations on big cases that have the most distortive impact on the internal market.

Building on this success, the Commission is proposing to further expand the GBER to cover investments in ports and airports. The proposal is part of the Regulatory Fitness and Performance of EU Legislation (REFIT) agenda. It aims at facilitating and providing legal certainty for investments in port and airport infrastructure, in line with the Commission's objective to stimulate investment in order to boost growth and job creation.

The proposed new provisions will exempt from prior Commission approval investment in ports (below €100 million) and investment in small regional airports (below 3 million passengers per year). This way, public funding which normally does not pose problems for the internal market can proceed without delay. A particular focus of the new exemptions lies on very small investment in ports (below €5 million for seaports and €2 million for inland ports) and on support to very small airports (under 150,000 passengers per year), for which additional simplifications are proposed.

In addition, the Commission wants to make it easier for public authorities to compensate companies for the additional costs they face operating in the EU's outermost regions. This way support measures can take better account of the challenges and specificities of these companies.

Overall, the scope for Member States to give State aid without prior authorisation from the Commission has greatly expanded in recent years and would increase even more as a result of the proposed revision of the GBER.

As required by the legal basis of the GBER (Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1588 of 13 July 2015), the Commission will carry out two public consultations on drafts of the Regulation and will consult Member States in Advisory Committee meetings on both drafts.

This is the second public consultation. The first public consultation took place from 07.03.2016 to 30.05.2016. The consultation documents and replies of the first public consultation are available here.

We welcome contributions from citizens, organisations and public authorities.

  • If you are answering this consultation as a citizen, please click here to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of an organisation, please click here to submit your contribution.
  • If you are answering this consultation on behalf of a public authority, please click here to submit your contribution.

Received contributions will be published on this webpage. Only submissions that contain the word "CONFIDENTIAL" (in English, in capital letters) in the subject line of the email can be treated as such and not published. In that case please also provide a non-confidential version of your reply. It is important to read the privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.

Please note that we cannot guarantee to take account of replies received after the deadline.
We would appreciate receiving documents in an electronic format, preferably in English, French or German.


View the consultation document


Reference documents and other, related consultations


First consultation


Contact details

Responsible service: Directorate-General for Competition, Unit 03
Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: HT.4691


Postal address:
European Commission
Directorate-General for Competition
1049 Brussels
Ref.: HT.4691
Fax (32-2) 296 12 42


Replies to the consultation

Member States
  • Austria 
  • Bulgaria 
  • Czech Republic 
  • Denmark 
  • Estonia 
  • Finland
  • Germany 
  • Greece 
  • Hungary 
  • Ireland 
  • Italy 
  • Latvia 
  • Lithuania 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Netherlands 
  • Portugal 
  • Romania 
  • Slovakia 
  • Spain 
  • Sweden 
  • United Kingdom 
Public authorities
  • Austria - The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) 
  • Belgium - Antwerp Port Authority  
  • Belgium - Government of Flanders 
  • Belgium - Région Wallonne 
  • Germany - Europabüro der bayerischen Kommunen (EBBK) 
  • Germany - Flugplatz Strausberg 
  • Germany - Thüringer Ministerium für Infrastruktur und Landwirtschaft 
  • Finland - Government of Åland 
  • France - Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine (Aquitaine, Limousin, Poitou-Charentes) 
  • France - Association Régions de France  
  • France - Collectivité Territoriale de Guyane 
  • France - Département des Hautes-Pyrénées
  • France - Syndicat mixte Pyrénia - Glavany 
  • France - Grand Port Maritime de Marseille 
  • France - Grand Port Maritime du Havre 
  • France - Région Normandie
  • France - Grand Port Maritime de Rouen 
  • France - Port Autonome de Strasbourg  
  • France - Région Hauts-de-France Nord Pas de Calais - Picardie 
  • France - Région OCCITANIE Pyrénées-Méditérranée  
  • France - Conseil Régional de la Réunion 
  • France - Syndicat Mixte Aéroport Deauville Normandie - Aéroport de Deauville - Normandie (SMADN) 
  • France - Syndicat Mixte de l'aéroport de Perignan-Rivesaltes 
  • France - Syndicat mixte Pyrénia  
  • Italy - Consiglio Regionale di Abruzzo
  • Norway - Royal Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries  
  • Romania/Bulgaria - Interreg V-A Romania-Bulgaria Programme  
  • Spain - Gobierno de Canarias  
  • Sweden - Linköpings Stadshus AB
  • Sweden - The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR)  
Registered organisations
  • Belgium - Airports Council International - European Region (ACI EUROPE) 
  • Belgium - Assembly of European Regions (AER) 
  • Belgium - Conseil des Communes et Régions d’Europe (CCRE) 
  • Belgium - European Association of Public Banks (EAPB) 
  • Belgium - European Federation of Inland Ports (EFIP)  
  • Belgium - European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO)  
  • Belgium - European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) 
  • Belgium - Federation of European Private Port Operators and Terminals (FEPORT)  
  • Belgium - Green Budget Europe AISBL (GBE) 
  • Belgium - Hutchison Ports 
  • Belgium - Transport & Environment (T&E)  
  • Germany - Deutsches Verkehrsforum (DVF) 
  • Germany - Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag e.V., DIHK  
  • Germany - European Regional Aerodromes Community 
  • Germany - Flughafenverband ADV  
  • Germany - IHK Nord | Association of North German Chambers of Commerce and Industry 
  • Germany - Zentralverband der deutschen Seehafenbetriebe e.v. (ZDS)  
  • Denmark - Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) 
  • Denmark - Danske Havne (DH) 
  • Spain - Asociación Canaria de Industriales Tabaqueros (ACIT) 
  • Spain - Asociación Industrial de Canarias (ASINCA) 
  • France - Conférence des Régions Périphériques Maritimes d’Europe (CRPM)
  • France - EURODOM & FEDOM 
  • France - Union des Aéroports Français (UAF) 
  • France - Union des Ports de France (UPF) 
  • Hungary - Clean Air Action Group (Levegő Munkacsoport) (CAAG)  
  • Italy - Federturismo Confindustria 
  • Netherlands - Port of Rotterdam 
  • Poland - Związek Pracodawców Business Centre Club (ZP BCC) 
  • Poland - Pracodawcy RP 
  • Poland - Polish Confederation Lewiatan (Lewiatan) 
  • Portugal - Quercus - Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza 
  • United Kingdom - Aviation Environment Federation (AEF)  
  • United Kingdom - UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) and the British Ports Association 
  • United Kingdom - Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (HAL)  
Non-registered organisations
  • Belgium - Netwerk Duurzame Mobiliteit 
  • Germany - Flugplatz Schwäbisch Hall / Adolf Würth Airport 
  • Germany - Port of Kiel
  • Germany - Flughafen Rostock-Laage-Güstrow GmbH / Rostock Airport 
  • Germany - City Airport Mannheim 
  • Germany - Deutscher Tourismusverband e.V (DTV) 
  • Germany - Flughafen Braunschweig-Wolfsburg GmbH (FHBWE) 
  • Germany - Flugplatzgesellschaft Schönhagen mbH 
  • Germany - Hamburg Port Authority 
  • Germany - Siegerland Flughafen 
  • Germany - Verkehrslandeplatz Haßfurt-Schweinfurt GmbH 
  • Denmark - Council for Sustainable Transport 
  • France - Association pour le développement industriel de La Réunion (ADIR) 
  • France - Aéroport La Rochelle - Ile de Ré 
  • France - Association Martiniquaise pour la Promotion de l’Industrie  
  • France - Association Réunionnaise Interprofessionnelle des fruits & Légumes (ARIFEL) 
  • France - Union des producteurs de banane de la Martinique (BANAMART)  
  • France - Boulangerie Yong  
  • France - Chambre de commerce et d’industrie métropolitaine de Brest (CCI Brest)  
  • France - Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de la Martinique (CCI Martinique)  
  • France - Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Ile de La Réunion (CCI de la Réunion) 
  • France - Confédération Générale des Petites été Moyennes Entreprises  
  • France - Conseil Interprofessionnel du Rhum Traditionnel des Départements d'Outre-Mer (CIRT DOM) 
  • France - Distillerie Chatel 
  • France - Distillerie de Savanna 
  • France - Distillerie Isautier 
  • France - Distillerie Neison 
  • France - Ecochimie 
  • France - Fédération des Entreprises des Outre-Mer (FEDOM) 
  • France - Fédération Interprofessionnelle des alcools de canne de la Réunion (F.I.A.C.RE.) 
  • France - Gardel  
  • France - Grand Sud Productions (GSP) 
  • France - Habitation Saint-Etienne 
  • France - Interprofession Guadeloupéenne de la Viande et de l’Elevage (l'IGUAVIE)  
  • France - Isoplast  
  • France - Limonade COT  
  • France - Mauvilac  
  • France - Mouvement des Entreprises de France - MEDEF Réunion 
  • France - Association des Moyennes et Petites Industries de la Guadeloupe (MPI Guadeloupe) 
  • France - Association des Moyennes et Petites Industries Guyane (MPIG) 
  • France - Reunimer Group  
  • France - RéuniMer SAS 
  • France - Royal Bourbon Industries 
  • France - Rhums & Punchs Isautier
  • France - Soboriz 
  • France - Atélier du Store - Sarl SODEO  
  • France - Sorinord 
  • France - Société de Productiond des Huiles de Bourbon (S.P.H.B) 
  • France - Syndicat des producteurs de rhum de la Réunion 
  • France - Syndicat de défense de l’appellation d’origine contrôlée "Rhum Agricole AOC Martinique" 
  • France - Syndicat du sucre de la Réunion  
  • France - Union des Groupements de Producteurs de Bananes de Guadeloupe & Martinique (UGPBAN)  
  • Hungary - Integrated Consulting Group Ex Ante 
  • Italy - Assaeroporti
  • Italy - Associazione Italiana Porti Turistici - Assomarinas 
  • Poland - American Chamber of Commerce in Poland 
  • Poland - Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego 
  • Poland - COMPER Fornalczyk i Wpolnicy sp.j. 
  • Poland - Zwiazek Regionalnych Portow Lotniczych (Regional Airports Association Poland) 
  • Poland - Polska Organizacja Pracodawców Osób Niepełnosprawnych (POPON) 
  • Sweden - Stockholm Skavsta Airport 
Individual contributions
  • Emmanuel Caudron 
  • Arturo Ricci 
  • Frédéric Enzesnsommer 
  • Chris Lowe