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Commission seeking feedback on reforms to state aid for innovation

Reforms aim to make EU’s public-private mega-projects, such as on batteries, more open for participation

The European Commission is seeking feedback on proposed changes to EU rules for Important Projects of Common European Interest—a legal framework that allows EU governments to coordinate their public investments in innovation areas for which there is a market failure hampering companies.

Existing IPCEIs are channelling public funds into R&D on batteries, microchips and hydrogen energy, with more such initiatives planned. The proposed changes tighten up definitions of what can be funded and seek to open up IPCEIs to all interested EU member states as well as small companies.

“To tackle those massive innovation and infrastructure challenges to green and digitise our economy, the risks can be too big for just one member state or one company to take alone,” the Commission vice-president for competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said on 23 February. “[IPCEIs] pool public and private knowledge and resources across Europe, while ensuring that state aid crowds in private investment and competition distortions are minimised.”

Feedback is open until 20 April.