State aid: Commission approves amendment to French scheme, including €3 billion budget increase, to support research, development and innovation

The European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, amendments to an existing French scheme to support research, development and innovation (‘RDI’) projects by companies of all sizes and active across all sectors. The existing scheme was approved on 27 April 2022 (SA.102230). The scheme is part of the “France 2030” recovery program that aims to develop industrial competitiveness and future technologies, in order to enhance economic recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. France notified the following amendments to the scheme: (i) an overall budget increase by €3 billion, from €700 million to €3.7 billion; and (ii) the limitation of the maximum aid amount per beneficiary to 15% of the overall budget. The Commission assessed the amendments under EU State aid rules, in particular the Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation, which enables Member States to grant aid for industrial research, experimental development, feasibility studies, and process and organisational innovation. The Commission concluded that the measure, as amended, remains necessary, appropriate and proportionate to facilitate RDI projects and achieve the objectives of the scheme. In addition, the Commission found that the safeguards to limit any potential distortions to competition will remain in place. On this basis, the Commission approved the amendments to the French scheme under EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case number SA.103500 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.