The European Union has a policy of controlling state aid in order to maintain free and fair competition within the European Union. State aid is defined as the intervention of a public authority (at national, regional or local level), through public resources, in order to support certain companies or producers. As a result, the company receiving such aid has an advantage over its competitors.
As part of this policy, the de minimis rule (de minimis aid), which concerns the Commission's State aid policy for small and medium-sized enterprises, was introduced in 1992, amended in 2006 and is still in force.
The De minimis Regulation (de minimis rule) concerns de minimis State aid and is a European Regulation on the maximum allowable amount of a grant (public money) that can be taken by a legal form or a group of companies, in order to avoid distortions of competition.