De minimis aid State aid and the de minimis aid criteria only apply to ‘state resources’ whereas resources centrally managed by EU institutions do not constitute state resources. Centrally managed programmes by the European Commission or its Agencies, such as Horizon Europe funding, are not therefore subject to state aid rules.
State funding meeting the criteria in Article 107(1) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union constitutes State aid and requires notification to the Commission by virtue of Article 108(3) of the Treaty. However, under Article 109 of the Treaty, the Council may determine categories of aid that are exempted from this notification requirement. In accordance with Article 108(4) of the Treaty the Commission may adopt regulations relating to those categories of State aid. By virtue of Regulation (EC) No 994/98 the Council decided, in accordance with Article 109 of the Treaty, that de minimis aid could constitute one such category. On that basis, de minimis aid, being aid granted to a single undertaking over a given period of time that does not exceed a certain fixed amount, is deemed not to meet all the criteria laid down in Article 107(1) of the Treaty and is therefore not subject to the notification procedure.
Furthermore, EC Communication nr. 2015/C 198/01 states that “Union funding centrally managed by the institutions, agencies, joint undertakings or other bodies of the Union that is not directly or indirectly under the control of Member States does not constitute State aid. Where such Union funding is combined with State aid, only the latter will be considered for determining whether notification thresholds and maximum aid intensities are respected or, in the context of this framework, subject to a compatibility assessment.”