The European Commission (Commission) has produced a handbook providing guidance on where state measures may be granted to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within the scope of the EU's rules. The book explains what an SME is and measures that may constitute state aid. It goes on to explain that below certain thresholds assistance is not regarded as aid as it is unlikely to have an effect on trade and competition between Member States (i.e. de minimis) and in certain circumstances, Member States may grant aid without notification (i.e. where the aid falls within the scope of the General Block Exemption Regulation). In other cases, aid may require notification but could benefit from individual exemption under certain guidelines and frameworks (e.g. risk capital, research, development and innovation, environmental protection, disadvantaged regions).
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