Beyond their impact on implementation of the European Community's common market, the granting of public assistance, regardless of the form this takes, represents a form of intervention in the economy that can alter the functioning of the markets. In fact, at times these actions can have a negative influence on competitive fair play, and instead of favouring the public interest, can actually work against it.
Law 15/2007 of 3 July, on Defence of Competition, has provided support and more extensive functions for the competent Spanish authorities on the subject of public assistance, within the set of attributions intended to promote competition.
In effect, Law 15/2007 allows the CNMC to issue reports with respect to the systems of assistance and individual grants, and to submit recommendations to the public authorities as a means by which to preserve effective competition in the markets. Furthermore, the CNMC will issue an annual Report on the public assistance being granted in Spain, which will be made available to the public.
Royal Decree 261/2008 of 22 February, which approves the Regulations on Defence of Competition (articles 7 and 8), specifies that analysis of this assistance must cover aspects that are both legal and economic. This analysis can also evaluate aspects such as the strategic plan under which the assistance is structured, its regulatory foundations, and the pros and cons of granting of this assistance using what is known as the assistance weighting test.
A final highlight to be mentioned is the start-up of a digital information centre, which contains all of the national public assistance programs that have been published in the official gazettes and journals. This represents an effort to complement the register of government assistance that is managed by the European Commission itself.
Latest assistance programmes