The European Commission has published an explanatory memorandum on a draft of a proposed General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) for state aid, which it published for consultation in April 2007. The memorandum explains the role and objectives of the GBER in the context of the State Aid Action Plan. In particular, it explains that the GBER will constitute "one of the cornerstones of the future state aid architecture" and that it strives to achieve the correct balance between the simplification objective and the need to ensure respect of the state aid rules. The consultation on the GBER ended on 3 June 2007. The draft will be discussed at an Advisory Committee on 3 and 4 July 2007 and a further draft should be published in the Official Journal for consultation in summer/autumn 2007, with a view to its adoption in spring 2008.
The memorandum provides an overview of the draft GBER and explains the content of the first "horizontal" part of the draft, which sets out common definitions and procedural requirements applicable to all types of aid within the scope of the GBER (including in relation to aid intensity and eligible costs, cumulation, transparency, the required incentive effect and monitoring), and sets out the individual notification thresholds. It then reviews the second "substantive" part of the draft GBER, which sets out the detailed substantive conditions relating to all types of aid covered by the GBER (including regional investment and employment, SME investment, environmental protection, consultancy and SME participation in fairs, risk capital, R&D, training and aid for disadvantaged and disabled workers).