State aid is a European Commission (EC) term which refers to forms of public assistance , given to undertakings on a discretionary basis, which has the potential to distort competition and affect trade between Member States of the European Union.
Click here to view some examples of what is and what isn’t State aid.
The State aid rules are set by the EC and comprise various articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), Regulations, Frameworks and Guidelines - which set out what aid can be given and under which circumstances. The EC governs Member States' compliance with these rules and many aid measures must be notified to the Commission for approval. Ignoring the rules can result in the Commission viewing aid as unlawful and possibly subject to repayment - by the aid recipient.