Continuing Education and Training and the EU Framework on State Aid

Implications for the Public Higher Education Sector in Brandenburg

Ageing populations and rising skill demands have heightened expectations that higher education systems will widen their offer of continuing education and training (CET) for adults aiming to renew or augment their skills at an advanced level. CET is becoming increasingly important for maintaining a highly skilled workforce also in Germany, and particularly in the state of Brandenburg. However, Brandenburg’s public higher education institutions have so far been only marginal providers. To expand their offer of CET, they would require more legal certainty about the use of public funding in light of European Union (EU) state aid policy. EU state aid policy ensures public subsidies (state aid) are not used by state agencies to crowd out markets (economic activity). There are no clear EU, federal or state-level directions about whether CET is a non-economic activity and thus exempt from EU state aid rules. This report analyses the reasons for this legal uncertainty and provides recommendations to the state government and public higher education institutions in Brandenburg about how to clarify the status of continuing education and training as a state-aided activity. It also proposes pointers for interpretation and future reform of the EU framework on state aid, and provides impulses for policy action in other German states and at the federal level.

Published on April 25, 2022Also available in: German

In series:Higher Educationview more titles


Executive summary
Legal analysis of the regulation of state aid in the EU
Classifying continuing education and training under EU state aid law
CET in practice at HEIs in Brandenburg
Cost accounting approaches
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