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Competition Policy

Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI)

IPCEIs may represent a significant contribution to economic growth, jobs, the green and digital transition and competitiveness for the Union industry and economy. IPCEIs make it possible to bring together knowledge, expertise, financial resources and economic actors throughout the Union and create positive spillover effects to the whole Union.

Legal bases

Following Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), aid to promote the execution of an important project of common European interest or to remedy a serious disturbance in an economy of a Member State may be considered compatible with the internal market.

In 2021, the Commission published the currently applicable Communication on the criteria for the analysis of the compatibility with the internal market of State aid to promote the execution of IPCEIs (OJ C 528, 30.12.2021, p. 10–18).

 

Several approved IPCEIs

Since 2018, except for 2020, the Commission has approved State aid for at least one integrated Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) each year. These IPCEIs concern predominantly research and development as well as projects of first industrial deployment. The increasing number of participating Member States and companies shows a positive trend and reflects the broad and deep research and development capabilities of the European economy and the growing attractiveness of the IPCEI instrument among the EU Member States. The increasing number of companies from numerous Member States participating supports the creation of European economic ecosystems. The mandatory dissemination of know-how as spillovers will facilitate further research and development and is expected to initiate additional economic activities in the EU’s strategic value chains.

The State aid approved, along with the expected private investments into research and development of these six IPCEIs so far add up to almost EUR 80 billion, which demonstrates that the IPCEI induced research and development funding offers a boost to the EU economy in the magnitude of the EU’s Horizon programmes.

Approved IPCEI

 

First IPCEI on Microelectronics

On 18 December 2018, the European Commission approved the first IPCEI in the field of Microelectronics. After the subsequent participation of Austria on 23 March 2021, a total of 32 companies from five member states (Austria, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) are participating in this project.

The project's overall objective is to enable research and develop innovative technologies and components (e.g., chips, integrated circuits, and sensors) that can be integrated in a large set of downstream applications. These include consumer devices, for example home appliances and automated vehicles, and commercial and industrial devices, for example the management systems for batteries used for electric mobility and energy storage.

The five Member States will provide up to €1.9 billion in funding in the coming years, which is expected to unlock additional €6.5 billion in private investments.

2nd IPCEI on Microelectronics

On 8th June 2023, the European Commission approved the second IPCEI in the field of Microelectronics, including communication technologies (IPCEI ME/CT). The project was jointly prepared and notified by fourteen Member States (Austria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain).  The project involves 68 projects from 56 companies, that form part of the wider IPCEI ME/CT ecosystem involving over 30 associated participants.

The project's overall objective is to enable the digital and green transformation by: (i) creating innovative microelectronics and communication solutions, and (ii) developing energy-efficient and resource-saving electronics systems and manufacturing methods. They will contribute to the technological advancement of many sectors, including communications (5G and 6G), autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. They will also support companies active in the energy generation, distribution and use in their green transition.

The fourteen Member States will provide up to €8.1 billion in funding in the coming years, which is expected to unlock additional €13.7 billion in private investments.”

First IPCEI on Batteries

On 9 December 2019, the European Commission approved the first IPCEI in the field of Batteries. A total of 17 companies from seven member states (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden) are participating in this project.

The project involves ambitious and risky research and development activities to deliver beyond the state-of-the-art innovation across the batteries value chain, from mining and processing the raw materials, production of advanced chemical materials, the design of battery cells and modules and their integration into smart systems, to the recycling and repurposing of used batteries. Innovation will also specifically aim at improving the environmental sustainability in all segments of the battery value chain. It aims to reduce the CO2 footprint and the waste generated along the different production processes as well as develop environmentally friendly and sustainable dismantling, recycling and refining in line with circular economy principles.

The seven Member States will provide up to €3.2 billion in funding in the coming years, which is expected to unlock additional €5 billion in private investments.

Second IPCEI on Batteries - European Battery Innovation (EuBatIn)

On 26 January 2021, the European Commission approved IPCEI European Battery Innovation (EuBatIn) as the second IPCEI in the field of batteries. A total of 42 companies from twelve member states (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) are participating in this project.

The IPCEI EuBatIn will cover the entire battery value chain from extraction of raw materials, design and manufacturing of battery cells and packs, and finally the recycling and disposal in a circular economy, with a strong focus on sustainability. It is expected to contribute to the development of a whole set of new technological breakthroughs, including different cell chemistries and novel production processes, and other innovations in the battery value chain, in addition to what will be achieved thanks to the first battery IPCEI.

The twelve Member States will provide up to €2.9 billion in funding in the coming years, which is expected to unlock an additional €8.8 billion in private investments.

First hydrogen IPCEI – IPCEI Hy2Tech (Hydrogen Technology)

On 15 July 2022, the European Commission approved the first IPCEI in the field of hydrogen (Hy2Tech). A total of 35 companies from fifteen member states (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain) are participating in this project.

The IPCEI will cover a wide part of the hydrogen technology value chain, including (i) the generation of hydrogen, (ii) fuel cells, (iii) storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen, and (iv) end-users applications, in particular in the mobility sector. It is expected to contribute to the development of important technological breakthroughs, including new highly efficient electrode materials, more performant fuel cells, innovative transport technologies, among which first time roll out hydrogen mobility ones. The IPCEI is expected to create approximately 20.000 direct jobs.

The fifteen Member States will provide up to €5.4 billion in public funding in the coming years, which is expected to unlock an additional €9 billion in private investments. 

Second hydrogen IPCEI – IPCEI Hy2Use (Hydrogen Industry)

On 21 September 2022, the European Commission approved IPCEI Hy2Use as the second IPCEI in the field of hydrogen. A total of 35 companies from thirteen member states (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) are participating in this project.

IPCEI Hy2Use will cover a wide part of the hydrogen value chain by supporting (i) the construction of hydrogen-related infrastructure, notably large-scale electrolysers and transport infrastructure, for the production, storage and transport of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen; and (ii) the development of innovative and more sustainable technologies for the integration of hydrogen into the industrial processes of multiple sectors, especially those that are more challenging to decarbonise, such as steel, cement and glass. The IPCEI is expected to boost the supply of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, thereby reducing dependency on the supply of natural gas.

The thirteen Member States will provide up to €5.2 billion in public funding in the coming years, which is expected to unlock an additional €7 billion in private investments. 

 

Directorate General for Competition Code of Good Practices on IPCEIs

Following the approval of State aid for IPCEIs so far, Member States and the Commission have both gained experience and knowledge on the assessment of State aid for IPCEIs. Based on this knowledge, experience and lessons learned, the Commission, on 1 February 2023, announced in its Communication “A Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age” that it would prepare a Code of Good Practices (“Code”) for a transparent, inclusive, and faster design of IPCEIs allowing for a streamlined assessment, and share it with the Member States.

This Code constitutes a manual of good practices addressed to national authorities, the Coordinator Member State selected by the national authorities, undertakings benefitting from aid based on the IPCEI rules (“IPCEI direct participants”), and the Commission services, for the purpose of facilitating the development and assessment of IPCEIs.

The Code of Good Practices

 

Templates for IPCEI project documents

New Templates are under construction and will be coming soon.

 

E-wiki for Member States

Link to e-State Aid Wiki – Q and A on State aid legislation (for Member States only).