The European Commission has approved this Thursday Spanish state aid worth 3,000 million. That is, the scheme, within the framework of the Spanish Recovery and Resilience Plan, to support research, development, innovation, environmental protection and energy efficiency in the automotive value chain. And what it is doing with this is endorsing the public-private mechanism in the channeling of European funds designed by the Spanish Government, after several months of negotiation with the area of competence of the European Commission.
"The issue is well on track," Vice President Nadia Calviño announced four weeks ago in Brussels, "so that we can meet our objectives and launch the main elements of this important strategic PERTE for our country before the end of the year, as we had planned. We have been working intensively for weeks and months with the teams of the European Commission and at this moment the matter is well on track. "
Thus, this Thursday the Community Executive announced that it has approved, under EU state aid rules, the Spanish plan of 3,000 million to support research, development and innovation (R + D + i), as well as measures of environmental protection and energy efficiency of companies in the value chain of electric and connected vehicles.
"The measure will help Spain accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable and connected mobility, without unduly distorting competition," says Brussels.
The plan will be funded in part by the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (RRF), following the positive evaluation by the European Commission of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Spain and its adoption by the Council of the EU.
Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "This Spanish $ 3 billion scheme will help enable an innovative and sustainable value chain for electric vehicles, in line with state aid rules and targets. of the European Green Pact. It will play an important role in the green and digital recovery of the Spanish economy, while ensuring that possible distortions of competition are minimized. "
As explained by the European Commission, the Spanish regime allows aid for investments in R + D + i, and aid for investments in environmental protection, including energy efficiency, for the execution of various integrated projects throughout the entire value chain of electric vehicles and connected, within the framework of the Strategic Project for the Recovery and Transformation of the Economy of Electric and Connected Vehicles ('ECV PERTE').
The scheme will operate until the end of 2023, and is open to consortia of interested companies, established both within and outside of Spain. Each consortium will include companies active in a wide range of sectors related to electric and connected vehicles, and at least 40% of the partners will be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). "The aid will be awarded through a competitive selection process and will take the form of direct grants and soft preferential loans," explains the European Commission.
According to the Community Executive, "the scheme is necessary to facilitate investments in R + D + i, as well as investment efforts in environmental protection of companies, and energy efficiency measures in the supply chain of electric and connected vehicles It also has an incentive effect, since the projects would not be carried out without public support. "
Furthermore, Brussels understands that "the aid is proportionate and limited to the minimum necessary", and that "the necessary safeguards exist to limit any undue negative effects. In particular, the maximum amount of aid for a single beneficiary will be limited; adequate participation of SMEs in the scheme, and participating companies must demonstrate that the amounts of aid requested are limited to the minimum necessary ".
Finally, the European Commission highlights that "the positive effects of the measure, in particular on the environment, the integrity of the European Research Area for the value chain and the recovery of the Spanish economy, outweigh the negative effects in terms of possible distortions of competition. In fact, the plan will help Spain meet its environmental objectives, set at European and national level, and will support the digital transition, as it encourages investments in the connectivity of electric vehicles. Finally, Spain It also undertook to carry out an ex post evaluation to assess the effects of the scheme. "