Update of Commission Guiding Templates on Funding by the Recovery and Resilience Facility

Update of Commission Guiding Templates on Funding by the Recovery and Resilience Facility - State Aid Uncovered SM posts 3


In December 2020, the European Commission published “templates” to help Member States in the design of their plans that were to be financed by the Recovery and Resilience Facility [RRF]. The purpose of the templates was to identify whether those plans contained State aid and, if they did, whether the aid had to be notified or not.

Soon afterwards the Commission adopted new State aid guidelines such as those on climate, environmental protection and energy or those on research and innovation. Then in March 2023, the Commission announced amendments to the General Block Exemption Regulation [GBER]. Therefore, it became necessary to revise most of the 2020 templates. The new templates were published on 4 April 2023. They reflect the new provisions in the GBER and the State aid guidelines and the changes in the RRF regulation [Regulation 2021/241] that were made by Regulation 2023/435.

There are 13 templates of which nine have been revised as of 4 April 2023.[1] All templates have the same structure. First, explain how to identify the relevant investments. Second, they present examples of public support or financing that do not constitute State aid because one or more of the criteria of Article 107(1) TFEU are not satisfied. Third, they sketch typical public measures that fall within the scope of the GBER or Commission Decision 2012/21 on SGEI so that no notification is necessary. Lastly, they advise Member States how to pre-notify and formally notify aid measures that fall outside the scope of the GBER or Decision 2012/21. The table below lists the 13 templates and indicates with a “*” those that were updated on 4 April 2023.

Recovery & Resilience Facility Guiding Templates [* updated on 4 April 2023]

Power Up * Energy & Hydrogen Infrastructure
Power Up * Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
Power Up & Renovate * District Heating/Cooling Generation & Distribution Infrastructure
Renovate * Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Recharge & Refuel * Electric Recharging Stations & Hydrogen Stations for Road Vehicles
Recharge & Refuel * Acquisition of Zero & Low-Emission Road Vehicles
Recharge & Refuel * Other Low Emission Transport Modes
Connect Deployment & Take-Up of Fixed & Mobile Very High Capacity Networks
Modernise Digitisation of Public Administration, Including Healthcare
Scale Up * Innovative Processors & Semiconductor Technologies
Scale Up Digitalisation of News Media
Scale Up * Cloud Capabilities
Reskill & Upskill Upgrading Education & Training, Including Digital Skills & Relevant Connectivity


The templates have an average length of about 18-20 pages, so it is rather impossible to review all of them in this article. What is more feasible is to summarise the reasons for which public support may or may not constitute State aid. The examples below are drawn from the templates. They are only examples, since there is no exhaustive list in the EU that describes all possible public measures that may or may not constitute State aid. It should also be noted that there is no exhaustive list of economic or non-economic activities.

Instances in which support from the RRF does not involve State aid and instance in which it does

1a. No economic activity:

  • Investment by individuals or non-undertakings [e.g. public authorities, public hospitals (funded on the principle of social solidarity), public universities (predominantly funded by the state)] in renewable energy for self-consumption of at least 80% of output.
  • Improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings or apartments owned by households and non-undertakings [e.g. public authorities, public hospitals (funded on the principle of social solidarity), public universities (predominantly funded by the state)] for their own use.
  • Installation of charging points for electric vehicles at private homes.
  • Provision of services by the state for its own needs [i.e. within and for the functioning of the public administration].
  • Support of underprivileged individuals without any indirect benefits for undertakings.
  • Vocational training, skill improvement and certification of individuals.
  • Public information campaigns to raise awareness.
  • Activities performed exclusively by the state [e.g. security].
  • Public infrastructure open to all users for free or which benefits all users [e.g. flood barriers, management of rain water, traffic information displays].

1b. Presence of economic activity:

  • Any activity for which a market exists.
  • Operation of energy infrastructure that is remunerated through tariffs or fees charged to users.
  • Provision of services even on a non-profit basis.

2a. No state resources:

  • Use of private resources.
  • Revenue from tariffs on users, which are not compulsory by law, while the entity that charges the tariffs, is not under state control.
  • Improvement of public procurement procedures.
  • Simplification of legal procedures such as those for issuing licences or permits.
  • Compulsory energy efficiency standards and other regulatory measures.
  • Establishment of new quality standards or professional qualifications.
  • Prohibition of polluting vehicles in cities.

2b. Presence of state resources:

  • Funds are paid from the budget of a public authority or resources which are controlled by the state and the decision to provide the funds is attributed to a decision of a public authority or an entity controlled by the state.

3a. No selectivity:

  • General measures [e.g. tax reductions].
  • Energy efficiency measures open to all sectors, regions and type of undertaking without specifying particular technologies.

3b. Presence of selectivity:

  • Individual measures, sector-specific measures, region-specific measures, or technology-specific measures.
  • Exercise of administrative discretion.

4a. No advantage:

  • The state acts as a private investor.
  • Operators are selected competitively and pay a fee for the right conferred to them.
  • Operators are entrusted with a public service obligation and selected on the basis of the Altmark conditions.
  • Users pay a market price and do not enjoy any special privileges.

4b. Presence of advantage:

  • Operators are selected competitively and receive payment by the state [i.e. they compete for a subsidy].
  1. No effect on trade or distortion of competition:
  • Public funding supports purely local activities where the recipients do not compete directly or indirectly with undertakings in intra-EU trade.
  • The aid complies with the conditions of the de minimis regulation [Regulation 1407/2013] or the SGEI de minimis regulation [Regulation 360/2012].
  • Public funding supports an entity that operates in a sector closed by law while the entity has no other activities outside the sector or keeps separate accounts.

The usefulness of the templates

The most useful aspect of the templates is that they indicate how the various provisions of the GBER may correspond to the actions that can be funded by the RRF in the context of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan. The applicability of the GBER to the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan will be explored in future articles.

[1] The templates can be accessed at:




Phedon Nicolaides

Dr. Nicolaides was educated in the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. He has a PhD in Economics and a PhD in Law. He is professor at the University of Maastricht and the University of Nicosia. He has published extensively on European integration, competition policy and State aid. He is also on the editorial boards of several journals. Dr. Nicolaides has organised seminars and workshops in many different Member States, and has acted as consultant to several public authorities.

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