Posted on May 18, 2022
The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules and in line with the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland annexed to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (‘Withdrawal Agreement'), Northern Ireland's map for granting regional aid from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027, within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines(‘RAG').
The revised RAG, adopted by the Commission on 19 April 2021 and in force since 1 January 2022, enable support to the least favoured regions in catching up and to reduce disparities in terms of economic well-being, income and unemployment – cohesion objectives that underpin the Single Market. They also provide increased possibilities for supporting regions facing transition or structural challenges such as depopulation, to contribute fully to the green and digital transitions.
At the same time, the revised RAG maintain strong safeguards to prevent the use of public money from triggering the relocation of jobs across the EU's Single Market, which is essential for fair competition.
Following the UK's departure from the EU, the revised RAG apply also to Northern Ireland, pursuant to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland's regional aid map defines the regions eligible for regional investment aid. The map also establishes the maximum aid intensities in that eligible region. The aid intensity is the maximum amount of State aid that can be granted per beneficiary, expressed as a percentage of eligible investment costs.
Under the revised RAG, regions covering the entire population of Northern Ireland will be eligible for regional investment aid, under the derogation of Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ('TFEU') (so-called ‘c' areas).
The maximum aid intensity for large enterprises varies depending on the GDP per capita. In Belfast, a 10% maximum aid intensity will apply, while in the rest of the territory of Northern Ireland, the maximum aid intensity will be of 15%. That maximum aid intensity can be increased by 10 percentage points for investments made by medium-sized enterprises and by 20 percentage points for investments made by small enterprises, for their initial investments with eligible costs up to €50 million.
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