Along with 2023, two important state aid regulations are coming to an end: the general regulation on de minimis aid (De Minimis Regulation) and the regulation on de minimis aid for providers of services of general economic interest (SGEI De Minimis Regulation). The European Commission has therefore submitted a new proposal for both regulations, under which the de minimis aid limits should be increased and other substantial changes made from 1 January 2024.
The most fundamental and long-awaited change is the increase in the de minimis aid limit. If the new regulations are adopted as presented, member states will be able to grant to businesses de minimis aid of up to € 300,000 compared to the current € 200,000. The de minimis aid limit for SGEI providers (e.g., providers of social, transport, or waste management services) will also be increased to € 700,000 from the current € 500,000. The reason for increasing the de minimis aid limit is mainly to make up for rising inflation.
How the three-year period for the de minimis aid limit is set will also fundamentally change. The three-year period should now cover the three years preceding the date of granting the aid, not the current and two previous one-year accounting periods, as is currently the case.
The draft regulation places greater emphasis on the transparency of the provision of aid. Unlike the current regulation, which leaves it up to the member states whether to use a central register of de minimis aid, the new regulations oblige member states to ensure that a central register of de minimis aid is established. The Czech Republic already uses such a central register; however, the regulation introduces certain new requirements in this respect, which means that some adjustments will have to be made, including related legislative changes. The adoption of the new regulations aims to increase the transparency and credibility of the de minimis aid system.
We expect that the regulations will be adopted by the end of this year. Both regulations should then enter into effect from 1 January 2024. Because of the rather short time allotted to adapting to the new requirements, both regulations contain transitional provisions allowing member states to continue granting de minimis aid under the existing rules (including the current limits) until 30 June 2024.