Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Monday, 14 January 2013

Commission questioned on state aid rules

The European Commission has been questioned by MEPs on plans to streamline the Commission's role in state aids, which are grants given by member states to prop up struggling major industries, such as airlines or the steel industry.

State aids are broadly banned under the EU competition rules but are permissible in certain situations.

The Commission has proposed to focus resources on assessing the legality of serious cases of state aids, and not dealing with minor cases and complaints that do not have any bearing on trade between member states.

It is proposed that the European Parliament only has a consultative role in the change in the law, rather than a full legislative role.

MEPs asked whether this is likely to change in the future, to provide more democratic oversight of state aid rules.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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