State aid impact evaluation is new in Romania. Given its novelty, the ex post evaluation seeks to provide evidence on how effective state aid has been, on whether state aid distorted competition, and on the implications for state aid design and implementation. These aspects are fundamental to improving the efficiency of public spending and minimizing market distortions. The ex post evaluation focuses on three state aid schemes to assess whether and to what extent the aid objectives have been fulfilled, and it measures their spillover effects as well as the effects on competition outcomes. Selected based on the their importance in supporting key policy objectives, their design and complexity, and the instruments used, the three schemes include de minimis aid implemented by the Romanian Counter-Guarantee Fund and designed to incentivize access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs); state aid granted by the Ministry of Public Finance to support regional development and job creation; and state aid provided by the Ministry of European Funds to support the upgrade and modernization of research, development, and innovation. The analysis finds evidence that the state aid schemes met their objectives without distorting competition significantly. The results for the de minimis scheme to incentivize access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises showed that the scheme increased employment and turnover of beneficiary firms and reduced the probability of aided firms closing. The state aid scheme to support regional development and job creation fulfilled its main objectives, with robust evidence of a positive direct effect on employment creation and, to some extent, on investment. Regarding the state aid scheme to support the upgrade and modernization of research, development, and innovation, the analysis found evidence that the scheme helped promote research and development efforts.
This state aid evaluation builds on the Technical Assistance on Assessing the Effects of State Aid on Market Outcomes in Romania (2018–2020). It was funded by the European Union via the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) and implemented by the World Bank in cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Reform Support (DG REFORM).