State aid: Commission publishes additional State aid guiding template on support for cloud capabilities under the Recovery and Resilience Facility

The European Commission has today published a new State aid guiding template to assist Member States in the design of their national recovery and resilience plans in line with EU State aid rules, with respect to support for cloud and edge data processing capabilities. This follows the publication of 11 State aid guiding templates on 21 December 2020 and of the guiding template on support to the digitalisation of news media on 11 February 2021. Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, each national Recovery and Resilience plan will have to earmark a minimum level of 20% of expenditure to support the digital transition. Investments in cloud and edge capabilities are key to strengthen Europe’s innovative performance in developing and deploying the next generation of data processing. The template published today covers investment projects within the ‘Scale Up’ flagship of the Commission’s Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021. Such investments will directly contribute to the objective of doubling the share of EU companies using advanced cloud services and big data by 2025, and will help achieving the European Strategy for Data.  Furthermore, digital technologies will be central in achieving the sustainability goals of the Green Deal. In this context, investments in cloud and edge computing can help accelerate and maximise the impact of policies to deal with climate change and to protect the environment. The guiding template, like the other guiding templates, is a technical document which is intended to provide sector-specific guidance as to when (i) support does not involve State aid, and therefore prior notification to the Commission is not necessary; (ii) State aid would be involved, but no notification is necessary because it falls under a block exemption; and (iii) State aid would be involved and a notification is necessary, with reference to the main applicable State aid rules. Under the guiding template, projects on cloud and edge capabilities that can receive State aid can, for example, be focused on Research and Development (R&D) and Innovation, environmental protection, energy efficiency, support to Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups and regional development. Member States can use the dedicated mailbox and hotline set up by the Commission for queries on this and other guiding templates.