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Brussels, 20th July 2009

State aid: Commission approves second amendment to German crisis measure allowing aid of up to €500 000

The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an amendment to a German scheme allowing aid of up to €500 000 per company in 2009 and 2010, initially approved in December 2008 (see IP/08/2063). The amendment would allow the aid element of public guarantees to be calculated on the basis of the Annex of the Commission's Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993). This adjustment will permit a more effective response to the difficulties of enterprises regarding lending conditions and credit availability in the current macroeconomic situation. The measure is limited in scope and time and only applies to companies that were not in difficulties on 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.

The underlying scheme, "Bundesregelung Kleinbeihilfen", had initially been approved by the Commission on 30 December 2008 as one of the first real economy crisis measures (see IP/08/2063). The scheme has been designed on the basis of section 4.2.2. of the Temporary Framework regarding limited amounts of aid. On 4 June 2009 the Commission approved a first amendment to the scheme in order to facilitate access to risk capital especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are in their early stages of development (see IP/09/877).

The notified new calculation method for aid in the form of public guarantees is in line with the requirements of the amended Temporary Framework with regard to the calculation of the aid element for guarantees (see MEMO/09/87). Since the underlying scheme entered into force before the adoption of the amended Temporary Framework, Germany has asked for this adjustment.

The decision on the amendment will be made available under the case number N 411/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

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