State aid

As part of the negotiations with the EU, three single market agreements are to include provisions on state aid: electricity, air transport and overland transport. The structure of these provisions, as well as exemptions and transitional rules for existing aid, will be discussed in the negotiations. 

Companies that receive state aid benefit from targeted economic advantages, which can therefore distort competition. State aid may however be desirable if it is in the public interest, for example to bolster a region that is structurally weak or to promote green technologies. At its core, state aid regulation is aimed at preventing undesirable distortions of competition and ensuring that all participants in the EU's single market are on a level playing field.

Rules on state aid are to be included in the air transport and overland transport agreements. With the necessary adjustments, these will also apply to future bilateral single market agreements, for example in the area of electricity (but not to agreements on food safety or health).

Existing state aid and other issues that could affect Switzerland's essential interests will be discussed in the negotiations. Switzerland would undertake to apply substantive rules in the areas concerned that are equivalent to the corresponding EU regulations.

Switzerland would be independently responsible for supervision (two-pillar model). Competition Commission (COMCO) already monitors Swiss state aid under the Air Transport Agreement in accordance with the requirements of EU law. Therefore, hardly any material effects are to be expected. Most of the existing subsidies for electricity and overland transport in Switzerland are expected to be in line with the EU's state aid regulations.

State aid for public service provision, which is generally permitted in the EU, can remain unchanged. 

Factsheet: State aid (PDF, 2 Pages, 225.5 kB, English)