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Alessandro Cogoni

Alessandro Cogoni is an associate in Covington’s competition team. He advises international companies from a wide variety of industries on all aspects of EU competition law, including State aid, foreign subsidies, multi-jurisdictional merger control filings and antitrust investigations.

On 31 May 2024, the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted an amendment to its Regional aid Guidelines (“RAG”), allowing EU Member States to grant higher amounts of aid to investment projects falling into the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform’s (“STEP”) objectives in disadvantaged areas of the EU. STEP is an EU initiative designed to boost the EU’s industrial competitiveness and reinforce EU sovereignty by supporting critical and emerging strategic technologies and their respective value chains.

Key takeaways

  • In the EU, large businesses can only receive State aid from Member States for their large investment projects (“LIPs”) in production facilities if their projects take place in disadvantaged areas of the EU. The conditions to access such State support and the maximum aid amount are laid down in the RAG.
  • STEP’s objectives are to support the development and the manufacturing of clean tech, digital technologies, and bio-tech.
  • The amendment to the RAG allows Member States to grant large businesses higher amounts of aid for their LIPs where they contribute to the STEP objectives.

Regional aid

Aid to large businesses pursuing LIPs is generally considered unnecessary and highly distortive because these businesses already have access to capital and are a significant presence on the market. Such aid can, in principle, only be authorised by the Commission under strict conditions and if it supports an initial investment in new production facilities, output diversification into new products, or a fundamental change in a production process.Continue Reading The Commission amends regional aid rules to foster support for strategic technology projects