Commission approves reductions of nuclear levy for electro-intensive users in Slovakia
The European Commission has found Slovakia's plan to grant reductions on a nuclear levy to certain electro-intensive users to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure will contribute to the competitiveness of these companies without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
In 2006, Slovakia set up the National Nuclear Fund to finance the costs of decommissioning obsolete nuclear power plants. The National Nuclear Fund is financed via a levy, which is paid by final electricity consumers.
As of 2019, Slovakia intends to grant reductions on the nuclear levy to certain electro-intensive industrial users exposed to international trade, such as companies active in the production of refined petroleum products, basic iron, steel, ferro-alloys and aluminium. The amount of the reduction will vary depending on the companies' electro-intensity. The reductions will confer an advantage to these companies, as they will lower their financial burden compared to other companies that will not benefit from them.
Slovakia notified this measure to the Commission for review under EU State aid rules. The Commission assessed the measure under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which allows Member States to support the development of certain economic activities.
In its assessment, the Commission found that the reductions:
- are limited to companies that are active in electro-intensive sectors exposed to international trade, and
- are proportionate. In particular, they provide a sustainable financing basis for the safe and timely decommissioning of obsolete nuclear power plants in Slovakia without putting at risk the competitiveness of companies exposed to international trade.
On this basis, the Commission concluded that the Slovakian measure to grant reductions to the nuclear levy to electro-intensive users is in line with State aid rules, because they will contribute to the competitiveness of these companies without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.
Slovakia set up the National Nuclear Fund in 2006 to finance the costs related to the decommissioning and treatment of nuclear waste and spent fuel of two obsolete nuclear power plants: Bohunice A1 and V1.
Since 2011, final electricity consumers are required to pay a nuclear levy, based on their electricity consumption, to finance the National Nuclear Fund. This financial set-up was approved by the Commission under EU State aid rules in 2013 (SA.31860). In its decision, the Commission acknowledged that the nuclear levy contributes to an objective of common interest, as it ensures the safety of nuclear facilities and the correct, timely and safe decommissioning of obsolete nuclear facilities, and provides long-term solutions for spent fuel and radioactive waste management.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be published in the State aid register on the competition website under the case number SA.50877. The State Aid Weekly e-News lists new publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the EU Official Journal.