Brussels seeks to expand and make aid to companies more flexible to alleviate the crisis
The European Comission wants to expand the package of options that countries have to alleviate the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine by allowing the “rapid and effective” deployment of aid to companies that face “significant increases” in energy prices. This is stated in a new draft of the Crisis Time Frame that Brussels has sent to the capitals for consultation with the aim of expanding its battery of tools available to governments, as reported in a statement.
This framework was adopted on March 23 and expanded for the first time in mid-July. At the beginning of October, the Community Executive sent a draft with new flexibilities and, after having received the first comments from the countries of the club, has decided widen the scope of action of the Member States. Thus, in the consultation, the Commission proposes “additional adjustments” to the countries so that they give “support to companies affected by high energy prices”.
The goal, he adds, would be “further increase flexibility for faster and more effective support to companies facing significant increases in their energy costs while protecting a level playing field in the single market”. The draft also proposes a “targeted adjustment” for expand the capacity of Member States to grant public guarantees to energy companies so that they can use them as collateral to cover their financial activities in a market situation such as the current one, characterized by extreme volatility.
These two new possibilities join those that the Commission raised on October 5 and that have not yet been adopted, including an extension of the temporary framework beyond December 31 of this year and an increase in the maximum aid that will be can be granted by company depending on its sector of activity. Although it does not detail the new figures, this means raising the current ceilings, which are up to 500,000 euros per company at a general leveluntil 62,000 euros in the agriculture sector And till 75,000 euros in fishing and aquaculture.
The draft from the beginning of the month also simplify the criteria that Member States must follow when granting state aid, clarifies the requirements that Brussels will apply when analyzing the decisions to recapitalize companies adopted by countries and introduces additional measures to support the reduction of electricity demand. Since its launch in March, this temporary crisis framework allows Member States to compensate for the additional costs derived from the impact of the Russian aggression in Ukraine as well as measures to accelerate the deployment of renewable energies and actions to decarbonise industrial processes.
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