Country Profile: Germany

AuthorNaldini, Andrea; Pompili, Marco; Peruccacci, Eleonora
Int roduct ion
Germany is spending a h igh am ount of State aid, since in 2017 it was 42,313.2 Mio.
(Bun desm iniste riu m der Fina nzen 20 19, S. 71) . This is 3 8.2 p erce nt of the to tal volum e
of State aid spen t in t he EU in the sam e year. Althou gh t he absolut e am ount is
significant, the intensity of State aid as share of the GNP is not ex tremely high: it
is 1.31 percent , which is above the EU average (0.76% ), but several other countr ies
show a higher Stat e-aid intensity113.
German fed eralism is built on the basic rule that respon sibilities ar e not shared am ong
different st at e lev els but separat ed. Thus, the federal lev el and the Länder have t heir
own respon sibilities. While reg ional development policy or educat ion, for inst ance, lies
wi th th e Län der , it is th e Fed eral le vel th at is r espon sibl e fo r l abou r m ar ket po licie s. Th e
t asks ar e ass ign ed to th e d iff ere nt le vels in t he cons tit ut ion al law . This lead s t o a sp ecif ic
pat tern of respon sibilities.
Sim ult aneously, and p artly because of this separation of r esponsibilities, a variety of
different ways t o coordinate t he levels is exper ienced. Negotiat ions to coordin at e th e
Länder are v ery com mon in some cases le d or sup ported by t he f eder al level. I n so me
few fields, so called Joint Taskshave been est ablished: Financial schem es that are
join tly design ed and im pleme nte d by feder al level and the Länd er (e.g. for un iver sit ies,
regional develop men t, rur al deve lopm ent and agriculture).
Federal level and Län der are spendin g sub sidies with m ore or less the same volume,
with t he Länder having a great er shar e in most of the years114. This m akes clear t hat
bo th leve ls are of rele vanc e w hen tal kin g ab out St ate aid in Ge rm any . Mu nicip alit ies are
also spending relevant am ount s, but significan tly less t han both t he Federal Level and
Bot h the feder al level an d Länder are im plem enting St at e aid-relat ed support and are
relevant for th is count ry profile. Som e basic rules relev ant for evaluat ion of State aid
schemes are quit e sim ilar. Nonetheless, t here is a variety of att it udes towards the
implement ation of Stat e aid and their evaluation, mainly at Länder level, and practices
vary.115 This countr y profile descr ibes the situation at the federal level in some detail.
For the sit uation at the Länder level, it giv es an ov er all assessm ent of how far t he
sit uat ion is com parab le o r d iffe rent to the sit uat ion at the Fed eral lev el and of how far
the sit uation var ies bet ween Länder. Municipalities are n ot covered here.
The latest report on su bsidi es fo r t he yea rs 2 017 to 2020 counts on fed eral level a t otal
of 93 subsidy schemes with a financial volume of 37,878 billion EUR. 61 of these 9 3
schemes count as State aid in the European definition, they amoun t for 31 ,9 36 b illion
113 Sou rce: ( Bun desm inisterium der Fin anzen 2 019, S. 71) . I n t he 20 17-201 9 period the Federal St ate
spen t the 38% of t he total subsidies. See
ht tp s: //www.b undesfinanzm / EN/Standardart ikel/ Press_Room / Publicat ion s/ Brochure
s/ 2020-0 3-03-27subsidy -rep ort .pd f?__ blob = pub licat ionFil e&v = 4
114 Subsidie s is not equal to stat e-aid; St ate aid is a sub set of subsidie s, som e t wo t hird s of the sub sidies
coun t as St ate aid. Figu res are only syst ematically av ailable for su bsidies. In t he 2017-2019 p eriod the
Feder al St ate spent th e 38% of t he t otal subsidies, the Lan der t he 4 7% and the local admi nistr ation s th e
15 % .
115 Ther e i s on ly a l im ite d b ody of lit er atu re ta kin g st ock of t he eval uat ion in Ger ma ny. Non e o f i t is f ocussi ng
on the role of Stat e aid . (W idm er et al. 20 09; Böt tche r et al. 20 14)

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