Executive Summary

AuthorMichie, Rona; Wishlade, Fiona; Mendez, Carlos
Fact-finding study on the GBER transparency re quirement
This study has three main objectives:
to provide an overview of approaches to meeting the State aid transparency
to assess the effectiveness of different approaches on the basis of the data available; and
to identify potential changes to the transparency requirements, through case studies of
selected countries, that might improve levels of compliance.
The review of reporting arrangements reveals diverse arrangements for compliance with the
transparency requirements. Formally, the transparency requirement under the GBER flows from
the direct applicability of EU law and in principle does not require further implementation. As a
result, in about a third of countries typically in the pre-2004 Member States - there is no specific
State aid legislation. The remaining countries have enacted State aid legislation, but the substance
of this varies widely, with some making scant if any reference to transparency, while in others,
such as Poland, Italy, Romania and Spain, legislation provides for comprehensive national State
aid registers.
The form and timing of legislative texts are not decisive as to the rigour w ith which the
transparency requirements are implemented, but rather a reflection of wider domestic
institutional contexts, including the timing of EU accession. Also important, the legislative texts
for GBER-based aid schemes incorporate the transparency requirement. As a result, even in the
absence of overarching legislation or specific rules on transparency, the reporting requirements
are integrated into the rules for individual aid schemes.
All countries operate with at least one State aid coordinating body, but precise arrangements
vary. For example: in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom, subnationa l coordinating bodies
play a significant role, reflecting decentralised administrative arrangements. On transparency
issues, most State aid coordinating bodies have an advisory role only and they play a central role
in disseminating information to awarding bodies and often training on transparency. In seven
countries there is mandatory oversight of transparency. These fall into two groups: countries
which have all opted to fulfil the transparency obligations through domestic systems (Spain,
Poland and Romania); and countries where the State aid coordinat ion body checks the data
before encoding it in TAM (Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Slovenia).
In a few countries there is provision for sanctions for non-compliance with the State aid rules.
These may take the form of fines or financial penalties levied against awarding bodies (Bulgaria,
Spain, Poland, Romania, Slovakia). In practice, it does not appear that such sanctions have ever
been used.
Countries have taken a variety of approaches to meeting the transparency obligations. In all
countries, awarding bodies are responsible for some external reporting on awards made i.e.
other than their own internal or departmental monitoring systems. Beyond this, approaches vary
and six separate approaches are identified (see below), reflecting:
whether or not awarding bodies are responsible for encoding awards in TAM;

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