Tuesday, 10 November 2020
Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment
174. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment if the Government will make a submission to the EU Commission consultation on extending state aid exemptions currently in place, detailing the plans to make greater use of the flexibility that the exemptions allow. [30138/20]
My officials participated in the consultation process on the proposed extension of the State aid Temporary Framework and made a submission supporting the extension and highlighting the importance of the flexibilities under the Framework to allow for existing schemes to be extended and new schemes to be developed.
I met with Executive Vice President Vestager, on 29thSeptember and one of the items on our Agenda was the Temporary Framework. I again set out the importance of the extension and highlighted the twin challenges facing Ireland in the context of both COVID-19 and Brexit. I therefore strongly advised that the ongoing flexibility provided by the Temporary Framework is an absolute necessity to appropriately focus aid in a manner that it is most effective to support those enterprises impacted by the pandemic.
Subsequently, at a meeting with the Commission and Member States on 6thOctober, as part of the consultation process, my officials reiterated Ireland’s position.
I therefore very much welcomed the adoption of the extended Framework on 13thOctober 2020. The Framework will now run until 30thJune 2020 and the Commission has agreed to review and examine the need to extend the Framework beyond that date before this extension runs out. The extended Framework also allows for additional flexibilities whereby schemes may now be put in place for uncovered fixed costs in the form of loans, grants and guarantees up to €3m per undertaking.
The prolongation of the Framework will allow Granting Authorities to extend existing schemes which will be facilitated by the Commission through a block extension of Irish schemes, thus making this process less onerous and more efficient.
The Framework will continue to operate alongside and in addition to existing State aid supports (i.e. De Minimis and GBER schemes). Work is ongoing across Government departments, including my own Department, to ensure that necessary schemes are in place to support enterprise through these uncertain times.