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This is ClientEarth’s reply to the European Commission’s Consultation on the revised State aid General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).
The GBER sets out the conditions under which State aid can be paid by the Member States without having to be notified for prior authorisation to the European Commission. As Member States are alone to assess whether their public funding to economic activities complies with the GBER, the rules therein must be clear and straightforward.
The Commissions is reviewing part of the GBER to align it with the European Green Deal and the EU Climate Law objectives. For environmental protection and energy, the rules laid down in the GBER are complementary to the State Aid Guidelines for Climate, Environment and Energy (CEEAG): they thus need to be consistent and future-proof.
ClientEarth gave feedback on the Commission’s draft in relation to aid for climate, environmental protection and energy. That includes notably renewable energy sources, decarbonisation measures, gas, hydrogen, tax reductions for energy intensive industries, clean mobility, biodiversity, energy infrastructure as well as district heating and cooling.
Whereas the draft GBER is a good step towards the recognition of renewable energy communities and support to biodiversity protection, it remains, in our opinion, weak on several points. In particular: