Is State aid control of Cohesion policy now more challenging than control of domestic regional aid?
A new research paper by Fiona Wishlade looks back on 60 years of competition policy control of regional aid.
Competition policy and regional aid relations date back to 1957 and were embedded in the Treaty of Rome from the outset. However, regional aid control has been shaped by changing theorires of competitive harm, enlargement and the emergence of a bespoke European regional policy under the Structural Funds. Every dimension of regional aid has been addressed under competition policy control - maps, aid instensities, areas designation systems, large firms and large aid awards - and every EEA country has been affected.
Drawing on EPRC research conducted under the European Regional Policy Research Consortium (EoRPA), this new paper reflects on the evolution of competition policy control of regional aid over several decades and successive enlargements. It argues that the most challenging areas of State aid and regional development relations now concern Cohesion policy, rahter than domestic regional aid. This results from the broadening concept of State aid, the increasingly diversive nature of Cohesion policy instruments and the perceived implications of audit for Managing Authorities.
The research paper ‘State aid control of regional development policyat 60: harder, sharper, but not yet crystal clear'’ is published in EPRC’s European Policy Research Paper series.