The European Commission has approved Bulgaria‘s map for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 within the framework of the new regional aid guidelines adopted in June 2013.
The new guidelines set out the conditions under which Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and greater cohesion in the Single Market, the press center of the EC informs.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: “Bulgaria´s new regional aid map allows the Bulgarian authorities to promote investment throughout the country and further economic growth and cohesion in the Single Market. It also provides a basis for an easier and targeted use of regional development programs co-financed by the European Structural Funds.”
Under Bulgaria‘s regional aid map, the entire territory of Bulgaria will be eligible for regional aid under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) that allows Member States to grant aid in areas with a standard of living below EU average or high unemployment. The map will be in force from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2020.
The map also defines the maximum aid intensities for large companies carrying out projects in the country at 50% of the total investment cost in five of Bulgaria‘s regions and at 25% in the Southwestern region. The proposed maximum aid intensity is for projects with eligible expenditure below EUR 50M.
Five regions in Bulgaria have a GDP per capita lower than 45% of the EU average and one – the Southwestern region – between 60% and 75% of the EU average. Under the regional aid guidelines 2014-20, areas with a GDP per capita below 75% of the EU average are eligible in priority for regional investment aid, as the main purpose of regional aid is to foster the development of the less advantaged regions of Europe.