The Office of the Commissioner for State Aid Control was set up in June 2001 as part of the harmonization process of Cypriot legislation with the acquis communautaire in the field of state aid. The primary objective of the Commissioner in the pre-accession period was to fulfill all the prerequisites set by the European Commission in order to make possible the provisional closure of the Chapter on Competition, something achieved in June 2002. At the same time, the Office assessed all existing and new aid schemes and ad hoc measures in order to decide whether they were compatible with Community state aid rules.
The Commissioner for State Aid Control is an independent government official. He is appointed by the Council of Ministers in consultation with the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs, and his tenure of office is six years. Mr. Christos Andreou was appointed Commissioner for State Aid Control for the period 2001-2007.
The Commissioner΄s role for the post-accession period is determined by the State Aid Control Laws of 2001 to 2004. According to the aforementioned Laws, the competences and responsibilities of the Commissioner are as follows:
· To examine and issue legally binding decisions on the compatibility with state aid rules of draft aid measures granted on the basis of the block exemption regulations i.e. aid for small and medium-sized enterprises, employment and training.
· To carry out a preliminary assessment and issue non-binding reasoned opinions on the compatibility with state aid rules of all other draft aid measures.
· To apply the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 [laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 93 of the EC Treaty (at present Article 88)] and the implementing provisions adopted by the European Commission according to Article 27 of the Regulation.
· To monitor the implementation and the final impact of all aid granted.
· To collect progress reports from all aid granting authorities in order to monitor the implementation and the final impact of all aid granted.
· To submit to the European Commission all information required including information regarding state aid granted in Cyprus.
· To collect, compile and monitor all information concerning state aid.
· To prepare and keep an up-to-date inventory of all state aid schemes / ad hoc measures, as well as an up-to-date central inventory on de minimis aid.
· To train all aid granting authorities and other parties involved on State aid matters.
· To prepare and submit to the President of the Republic an Annual Report on the exercise of his duties and responsibilities, with comments and suggestions, as well as an Annual Statistical Survey regarding all state aid granted in Cyprus.
· To represent the Republic of Cyprus in the EU Advisory Committee on State Aid as well as in any other committees and working groups dealing with the development or the implementation of state aid policy taking place in Cyprus or abroad.