State aid rules apply equally to all Member States and therefore are developed by the European Commission in consultation with Member States. As such, no national Government has sole discretion to make changes to these rules but each Member State provides input into the development of the rules be this through the State aid Modernisation process which is currently underway, State aid Fitness Checks and their associated consultation processes. The State Aid Unit of my Department coordinates Ireland's position in the development and/or revision of State aid rules and engages widely across Government on specific state aid issues.
For example as part of the recent review of the Regional Aid Guidelines, Ireland set out the importance of specific measures for Just Transition areas, a position also taken by other Member States who considered that the uniqueness of Just Transition areas should be included in the revised Regional Aid Guidelines.
The Green Deal and Just Transition are very much a priority for the Commission and for Member States with new flexibilities already in place. Ireland has recently developed the Just Transition Fund under the General Block Exemption Regulation. This will provide funding to innovative projects that contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the Wider Midlands region. The Government has allocated €11 million to this Fund for 2020.
As part of the State Aid Modernisation Programme, a number of State Aid rules are being considered in the context of the Green Deal and Just Transition. These include the Environmental and Energy State Aid Guidelines which will be subject to consultation over the coming months and my Department will coordinate a cross Government input into the revision process.