De minimis aid 23/04/2012
The European Commission has involved the term of “de minimis aid”, which means amounts of aid below a ceiling of EUR 200000 (EUR 200 000 equivalent in lats according to the exchange rate of the Bank of Latvia on the day when the decision is made on granting the aid) over a period of three years do not affect trade between Member States and/or do not distort or threaten to distort competition and therefore do not fall under Article 107(1) of the Treaty. As regards undertakings active in the road transport sector, this ceiling should be set at EUR 100000.
At the European Union level de minimis aid is regulated by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1998/2006 of 15 December 2006 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty to de minimis aid (OJ L 379, 28/12/2006, p.5) (hereinafter – Commission Regulation No 1998/2006). This Regulation does not apply to aid granted to undertakings active in agriculture sector, fishery and aquaculture sectors, as well as aid to export-related activities, development of distribution network, and other activities set forth in Article 1(1) of this Regulation. The undertaking can receive de minimis aid granted according to the Commission Regulation No 1998/2006 in addition to aid granted according to an aid programme or individual aid project approved by the Commission or according to an aid programme or individual aid project on which summarized information has been sent to the Commission if conditions of Article 2(5) of the Commission Regulation No 1998/2006 have been complied with.
However, at national level the procedure for allocation of de minimis aid is generally regulated by Chapter X of the Law on Control of Aid for Commercial Activity and Regulation No 58 of the Cabinet of Ministers “Procedures for Accounting and Granting of de minimis Aid and Samples of de minimis Aid Accounting Forms” adopted on 05.02.2008 (hereinafter – Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No 58).
If an aid programme or individual aid project complies with Articles 2 and 3(1) of the above mentioned Commission Regulation No 1998/2006 the grantor of aid does not have to submit an aid programme or individual aid project for initial assessment by the Ministry of Finance. However, if following the granting of the additional planned de minimis aid to a specific undertaking, the amount of de minimis aid specified in Article 2(2) of Commission Regulation No 1998/2006 has been exceeded, the grantor of aid shall notify the Ministry of Finance thereof.
A grantor and undertaking should carry out the accounting of de minimis aid. The Cabinet of Ministers approves samples of de minimis aid accounting forms and prescribes procedures for de minimis aid accounting and allocation (see Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers No 58).