State aid, EU: possible until June 2022

The possibility for European states to support companies in crisis due to the pandemic has been extended. Normally these subsidies are not allowed because they distort competition. Meanwhile, Brussels is planning to authorize this aid also to encourage the production of microchips in the Union

Europe continues to keep the strings of the state aid exchange wide open. The countries of the Union will be able to use the public money to help businesses in trouble due to Covid until June next year. In fact, what is a derogation from EU rules is extended, namely the ban on financing companies in crisis with public money so as not to alter competition.

The basic principle is that if a business does not manage to stay on the market it cannot be saved with taxpayers’ money because in this way those who stand up for themselves would be disadvantaged. But all of this has been put in the icebox since March last year, when the pandemic began to hit the continent. Over a year and a half, during which – recalled the vice president of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager – were “approved over 3 trillion euros of state aid throughout the Union “.

A huge figure but the piece of this cake actually spent it is much smaller (around 10 per cent), because in any case it is money that each country must extract (they are not EU funds) and therefore weigh on the accounts of every single budget.

Italy knows something about it, which it has seen increase his debt going to the rescue in the last year and a half to companies, from tourism to agriculture, with tax breaks, incentives for staff hiring and support for VAT numbers.

Meanwhile, the rigid discipline of state aid could soon be softened on the semiconductor front. In fact, Europe wants to authorize them in a way for the microchip production on the Continent, so that dependence on foreign countries (especially Asia) decreases with the aim of avoiding the supply difficulties experienced in recent times. But Vestager warns that every request will have to be “vigorously evaluated” to avoid a run on subsidies.

For ensure greater competitionthen, the antitrust “toolbox” will be enriched: a revision – promised the vice president – which will have an unprecedented scope “and which will also aim at incentives for the green economy and a tightening on subsidies for polluting projects.