The European Commission has developed a number of Horizontal and Sectoral State aid rules. Horizontal State aid rules apply to any industry, whilst Sectoral State aid rules apply to specific industries.

Using the Horizontal and Sectoral State aid rules

If you want to use the Horizontal or Sectoral rules for State aid cover, you have to formally tell the European Commission about your plans and wait for a formal decision before you provide any aid.  This can be a lengthy process, and it can take around 12 to 18 months to get a decision from the European Commission.

To save time, you should think about whether you can get State aid cover through one of the Block Exemption Regulations or one of the de minimis regulations

You can read more about the Hortizontal and Sectoral State aid rules in State aid: A Beginner's Guide for Public Bodies in Northern Ireland.

Horizontal State aid rules

Horizontal State aid rules apply to all sectors. The categories are aimed at solving problems that may arise in any industry and country:

Sectoral State aid rules

As their name suggests, the Sectoral State aid rules apply to specific sectors/industries.

Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Areas

Broadband Networks

Films and other Audiovisual Works

Fisheries and Aquaculture



Rail and Road

How to find out more

If you work for a public body and have any questions about how to apply the Horizontal or Sectoral State aid rules, please speak to one of the State aid contacts.

You can find out more about State aid in State aid: A Beginner's Guide for Public Bodies in Northern Ireland.


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