European Union: Cutting the red tape
The European Commission's (EC's) newly-launched General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) is one of the most important developments in European Union (EU) state aid law for many years. GBER has consolidated, refined and extended the scope of the rules that apply to public funding of private enterprise, exempting a wide range of support measures from the obligation to notify the EC of public support for the private sector. The introduction of this new legislation will have a significant impact on the way in which central, regional and local government in the UK and EU apply funding to a wide range of initiatives. Moreover, GBER is an interesting indication of those priority areas where the EC feels that public money can best be used to boost Europe's growth and competitiveness - in particular, through improvements in environmental standards, increased support for working women, and preferential treatment for the 99% of EU companies that are classified as small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
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