Monti may relax his grip on state aid
Sunday 16 February 2003
Mario Monti, Europe's Competition Commissioner, could be stripped of some of his powers to block government state aid payments to companies, under radical plans being hatched in Brussels, writes Clayton Hirst.
The proposals are expected to be announced in the summer and would allow member states to self-police certain state aid decisions.
In the UK it is expected that the Office of Fair Trading willbe given extra powers to investigate whether government grants breached European rules. Mr Monti would have jurisdiction only over large state aid investigations, such as the recent €9bn (£6bn) bailout of France Telecom.
Despite the Commission's attempt to crack down on state aid, EU governments gave more than €80bn last year to companies. In recent months, the Commission has had to deal with an increasing number of aid investigations, including the financing of Network Rail and loans given to British Energy.
The new European state aid proposals are being developed by Philip Lowe, director-general of the Commission's competition department. He is worried that the Commission has become deluged by state aid work.
If Brussels does cede power to member states it will be good news for the UK property industry. In 1999 the Commission outlawed a £200m-a-year urban regeneration grant programme. This provided "gap funding" – paid to property companies when the cost of developing a derelict site was greater than the value of the finished scheme. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has lobbied for the grant to be reinstated. On average it produced £5 of private money for every £1 of subsidy.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Cocaine and cannabis haul hidden in Vatican car seized by French police
Scottish independence referendum live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' to independence in historic referendum
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...