Financial aid scheme to support investment in electric-vehicle charging infrastructure – General terms and conditions

Last update 01.06.2022

The draft law on a 'Financial aid scheme to support investment in electric-vehicle charging infrastructure' will soon be put before the Chamber of Deputies.

In addition to the special terms and conditions applicable to the various aid schemes, the granting authority must ensure that applicant companies comply with these general terms and conditions.

Who is concerned

Any entity engaging in an economic activity as its primary activity, which:

  • has obtained the required authorisations; and
  • intends to invest in charging infrastructure to promote the use of electric vehicles.

How to proceed

Unaffected aid schemes

These terms and conditions do not apply to the following financial aids:

  • aid to support:
    • activities in connection with exports to EU Member States or third countries;
    • entities which do not engage in any economic activity;
  • aid granted on the condition that preference is given to the use of national products instead of imported products;
  • aid to support businesses in financial difficulty.

Definition of an SME

Certain categories of aid for SMEs under the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) are eligible for an increase in aid intensity.

To ascertain whether an applicant company qualifies for 'SME' status, the following should be checked:

  • for small enterprises, whether their:
    • annual turnover is less than EUR 10 million; or
    • annual balance sheet total is less than EUR 10 million.
  • for medium sized enterprises, whether their:
    • annual turnover is less than EUR 50 million; or
    • annual balance sheet total is less than EUR 43 million.

Only one of the 'Annual turnover' or 'Annual balance sheet total' criteria need be fulfilled.

Consideration should be given to the size of the workforce and annual turnover/balance sheet total not only of the applicant company, but also of any other economic entity with which the applicant company forms a 'single economic entity'.

Deggendorf Principle

The Deggendorf principle states that the payment of a new type of aid which has been found to be compatible in itself, may, in certain circumstances, be suspended until previous aid granted to the same company has been repaid, where that earlier aid package was:

  • illegal; and/or
  • incompatible with the internal market.

Exception: aid schemes intended to repair damage caused by certain natural disasters.

Incentive effect

The incentive effect is satisfied when the company has submitted a full application for aid to the granting authority prior to the commencement of work on the project in question. For this purpose, the aid application must contain certain minimum information, which varies depending on the type of aid being sought (see 'Related procedures').

No binding commitments may be made, in connection with a project for which State aid is being sought, before the application has been filed.

Cumulation rule

A project may not accumulate different forms of State aid covering the same costs unless the aid intensity cap for the relevant schemes continues to be observed.

Disclosure of the financial aid

Each individual aid measure exceeding the EUR 100,000 cap must be published on the transparency website of the European Commission.

Granting authorities are required to publish the following information on individual aid measures which exceed the aforementioned cap:

  • name of the beneficiary;
  • business ID (VAT/identification number) of the beneficiary;
  • company type (SME/large enterprise) at the time of granting of the financial aid (signature of the agreement);
  • the beneficiary's region under NUTS 2;
  • NACELUX Rev. 2 group activity sector;
  • the aid element, the amount of aid expressed in local currency;
  • financial aid instrument;
  • date on which the aid is granted;
  • purpose of the aid;
  • granting authority;
  • financial aid measure number.

Single economic entity – notion of group

The applicant business must state whether it has a business partnership or affiliation with one or more other businesses, under the terms of Annex I of Regulation (EU) 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (GBER). Together, these businesses are then treated as a 'single economic entity' in relation to the rules on State aid.

Businesses in difficulty

A business in difficulty is ineligible for aid under the aid schemes.

A 'business in difficulty' refers to any undertaking that fulfils at least one of the following conditions:

  • in the case of a limited liability company (other than an SME that has existed for less than 3 years), where more than half of its subscribed share capital has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. This is the case when deduction of accumulated losses from reserves (and all other elements generally considered as part of the company's own funds) leads to a negative cumulative amount that exceeds half of the subscribed share capital;
  • in the case of a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company (other than an SME that has existed for less than 3 years), where more than half of its capital as shown in the company accounts has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses;
  • where the undertaking is subject to collective insolvency proceedings or fulfils the criteria under its domestic law for being placed in collective insolvency proceedings at the request of its creditors;
  • the undertaking has received rescue aid and:
    • has not yet paid back the loan or terminated the guarantee; or
    • received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan;
  • in the case of an undertaking other than an SME, where, for the past 2 years:
    • the undertaking's book debt-to-equity ratio has been greater than 7.5;
    • the undertaking's interest coverage ratio, calculated based on its EBITDA, has been below 1.0.

The analysis is made at the level of the single economic entity ('group').

Sanctions, repayment and criminal law provisions

The beneficiary will lose their entitlement to aid if the legal eligibility requirements are not met.

In all cases, the beneficiary must repay the amount of aid paid, plus interest, within 3 months of the decision to that effect.

Entitlement to aid will not be lost if a disposal, abandonment or change in allocation:

  • has been approved beforehand by the competent ministers; and
  • is the result of force majeure or circumstances beyond the beneficiary's control.

The recipient of aid obtained on the basis of information which:

  • is inaccurate or incomplete; or
  • is incompatible with the commitments made in return for the granting of the aid;

is liable to the following penalties, without affecting the requirement to pay back the aid and the decision to exclude the beneficiary:

  • a prison term of between 4 months and 5 years; and
  • a fine of between EUR 251 and EUR 30,000.

The beneficiary may also be sentenced to a ban.

Who to contact

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