In a press release issued on 3 March 2022, the European Commission announced its approval of the regional aid map for Malta covering the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2027 under EU State aid rules. The approval is within the framework of the revised Regional aid Guidelines (‘RAGs’), endorsed by the Commission in April 2021. RAGs are the first set of State aid rules that are revised following the announcement of the European Green Deal and the European Industrial and Digital Strategies and which establish the parameters within which Member States can justly grant aid to enterprises to support the economic development of disadvantaged areas in the EU whilst retaining fair competition across the EU territory.
Malta's regional aid map defines the Maltese regions eligible for regional investment aid. Compared to the previous regional aid map whereby the entire territory of Malta was eligible for State aid, under the revised regional aid map, Malta has now designated Gozo, Comino and a part of Malta covering around 70% of the population, as disadvantaged areas (so called pre-defined ‘c’ areas). The revised regional aid map also sets out the maximum levels of State aid (‘aid intensities’) in the eligible regions. The aid intensity is the maximum amount of State aid that can be granted per beneficiary/enterprise, expressed as a percentage of eligible investment costs depending on the size of the beneficiary/enterprise determined in accordance with the definitions as set out in Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014. In those so called pre-defined ‘c’ areas, the aid intensities for large enterprises will vary between 10% and 15%, depending on the GDP per capita of the said area. In all the above areas, the maximum aid intensities can be increased by 10 percentage points for investments made by medium-sized enterprises and by 20 percentage points for investments made by small enterprises, for their initial investments with eligible costs up to €50 million.
Following this approval, it is expected that Malta Enterprise will issue guidelines on the implementation of local support measures that conform with the new regional aid map.
Brenda Williams Caffari
Associate Director, Tax Services
KPMG in Malta