The Commission published for consultation a draft of the revised General Block Exemption Regulation (“GBER”), which regulates the conditions based on which state aid can be exempted from prior notification to the Commission. The current GBER (Regulation 800/2008) is due to expire on 31 December 2013. The proposed draft introduces a number of changes to the current GBER, promoting "good" aid and more effective and efficient public support. The Commission proposes, for instance, wider possibilities to promote investments in R&D&I, green investments, risk capital and finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including aid to alternative trading platforms. The Commission also proposes to increase the notification thresholds for R&D measures and risk finance, and introduces a new exemption for R&D infrastructure. Further, the Commission proposes simplified provisions for innovation and start-up aid to SMEs as well as new provisions regarding renewable energy, district heating, remediation of polluted sites and regional development. Wider possibilities to support the employment of young people and simplified provisions for training aid are also proposed, as well as strengthened transparency provisions and evaluation of large schemes to promote efficient and effective public spending and to minimise distortions in the internal market. The Commission invites interested parties to submit observations on the draft by 28 June 2013. Source: Commission Midday Express 8/5/2013