The improvement of national practices and of the institutional framework in the area of state aid in the process of state aid modernisation has been discussed during a thematic meeting of the Working Group on Implementation of State Aid Modernisation. Bulgaria is hosting the meeting which is also the first of the events within the priority areas of the Ministry of Finance during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. European Commission and EU Member States’ representatives participated in the forum which was held in Hall 7 of the National Palace of Culture.
The meeting was opened by the Director of the State Aid and Real Sector Directorate at the Ministry of Finance Vessela Daneva who assessed the activity of the Working Group as being extremely useful and expressed her gratitude to its members for their proactivity and contribution. She presented the main changes to the national regulatory framework on various levels as well as the measures whereby Bulgarian experts have addressed the problems identified in this area as a priority task during the period. In Bulgaria, as a result of the modernised state aid regime, a new State Aid Law was developed and adopted by the National Assembly in 2017, the Director pointed out. Vessela Daneva thanked the representatives of the European Commission for their expert and methodological assistance. “I hope that our bilateral cooperation will also continue in case of other issues identified by us”, she said.
In 2012, the European Commission launched a modernisation of the state aid regime with the purpose to update the rules in line with the development of the markets and the strategic objectives of the EU, as well as to increase its contribution to sustainable, smart and inclusive growth. In view of the correct implementation of the modernised regime on national level and given the increased obligations of national state aid authorities, the Commission set up a dedicated working group – the Working Group on Implementation of State Aid Modernisation (SAM WG), which includes representatives of the national authorities of all Member States as well as of DG Competition.
The topics discussed by the delegates in Sofia also included the private investor principle, state aid in the context of local activities and infrastructures in the context of the ESIF. The European Commission and the Member States with the richest experience in this area made presentations during the meeting. There was also a debate on the areas of concern.