EARTO and the Vanguard Initiative have elaborated a joint contribution to the second public consultation on targeted review of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). The signing organisations welcome the Commission’s proposals aiming at facilitating the combination of shared managed and centrally managed funds. This will help synergies, complementarities and a more efficient use of different funds to become a reality, avoiding overlaps and administrative obstacles.
Apart from the proposals on the table, the contribution of EARTO and the Vanguard Initiative address the possibility of assessing some elements of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) programmes and Horizon 2020/Europe as state aid.
Regarding the proposals by the Commission to extend the scope of the GBER, EARTO and the Vanguard Initiative welcome the exemption of national funding for SMEs for projects labelled with the Seal of Excellence (SoE) under Horizon 2020/Europe. However, the networks call for the application of the SoE model to other centrally managed programmes, such as the COSME part of the Single Market Programme and the Digital Europe Programme.
Furthermore, the signing organisations argues that the Seal of Excellence disposal should apply to the new instrument "interregional innovation investments" (component 5) and benefit from an exemption for the same reasoning applicable to the existing SoE, and that additional exemptions are needed to allow combinations between national/regional funds (including under ESIF) and the interregional innovation investments.
EARTO and the Vanguard Initiative also encourages the Commission to consider a new exemption dedicated to facilitating the support by Member States to inter-cluster collaboration projects, for example through the implementation of interregional innovation vouchers schemes.
Read the joint contribution to the public consultation here.