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Comments on state aid regulation

The purpose of the regulation (EU 651/2014) “declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108” and the guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy 2014 – 2020 (2014/C 200/01) is to enable the member states to fulfil the targets and ambitions in the EU energy and climate policies, as well as national targets, by allowing exceptions from the general state aid regulation.

This is made clear in points 3, 4 and 5 in the environmental protection and energy guidelines, where “fight against climate change” is specifically mentioned in point 5d.

We agree with the general purpose of the state aid regulation, to avoid harmful support and subsidies that distort the market, but we note that the regulation, and the implementation of the regulation, in some cases contradicts the purpose to enable the member states to fight climate change and support the targets in the climate policy. This is specifically true in the Swedish case of support to biofuels by means of carbon taxing and tax exemption. This issue has been on the agenda for many years, and has hampered the development of the biofuels market and particularly the investments in biofuels production in Sweden.

We note that the EU Treaty in article 191.1 stipulates that union policy shall contribute to combating climate change, and in 191.2 that polluters should pay. We also note that according to article 194.1 the Union shall promote renewable energy, and that Member States have a right to determine the conditions for exploiting its energy resources, its choice between different energy sources and the general structure of its energy supply (194.2).

We think that these over-bearing provisions should guide the formulation of the state aid rules.

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