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Brussels, 16 July 2009

State aid: Commission authorises Greek temporary scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a Greek measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. Aid of up to €500 000 per firm may be granted until the end of 2010 to businesses facing funding problems because of the current credit squeeze. The scheme meets the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures, which gives Member States additional scope to facilitate access to financing in the present economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993 ). In particular, it is limited in time and scope and applies only to companies that have not been in difficulties before 1 July 2008. It is therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty, which permits aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The Greek scheme will help to alleviate difficulties faced by businesses affected by the current financial crisis without giving rise to any undue distortions of competition.”

The scheme is based on the provisions of the Temporary Framework that deals with compatible aid of a limited amount. In particular, the maximum amount of aid does not exceed €500 000 per company over the period 2009-2010 and the scheme applies only to businesses which were not in difficulty before 1 July 2008.

The aid will be available inter alia in the form of grants. Under the scheme, limited amounts of compatible aid can be granted as from its approval by the Commission until 31 December 2010.

The scheme is the third Greek measure authorised under the Temporary Framework aiming at remedying a serious disturbance in the economy. The other two are a temporary scheme allowing subsidised guarantees (see IP/09/867 ) and a temporary scheme allowing aid to firms in the form of reduced interest rates (see IP/09/868 ).

The decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website , under the reference number N 304/2009. The latest decisions on state aid published in the Official Journal and on the website are listed in the electronic newsletter State aid Weekly e-News .

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