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Brussels, 5 th August 2009

State Aid: Commission approves German short-term export-credit insurance scheme

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a measure adopted by Germany to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on export firms. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993 ). In particular, the measure requires market-oriented remuneration and tackles the problem of the current unavailability of the short-term export credit insurance cover in the private market. The Commission authorised the measure until 31 December 2010.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "Ensuring effective export credit insurance is of paramount importance to build the basis for a strong economic recovery. The German short-term export credit insurance scheme allows supporting exporters in areas where the market is temporarily not functioning properly and, at the same time, establishes effective safeguards to limit distortions of competition."

The German state export credit insurance scheme, managed by a Consortium consisting of Euler Hermes and PricewaterhouseCoopers, would provide short-term export-credit insurance to companies established in Germany, where such cover is unavailable in the private market for financially sound export transactions. To receive insurance under the scheme, a considerable proportion of the risk needs to be retained by the exporter, to ensure that only sound transactions are covered.

The Commission concluded that the measure complies with the conditions laid down in its Guidance Communication on state aid to business during the crisis (see IP/08/1993 ). In particular, the measure meets the following criteria:

  • The necessary cover has become unavailable on the private insurance market as a consequence of the financial crisis. The unavailability of cover has been demonstrated by well established-exporters in line with the Temporary Framework.

  • The premiums charged under the public scheme are aligned to those of the private market, as stipulated by the safeguard clause in the Commission's Communication on short-term export-credit insurance. The premiums are set at a level that provides an incentive for exporters to have recourse to private insurers as soon as sufficient cover will be available on the private market.

Moreover, the measure includes safeguards to avoid that financially-unsound transactions and counterparties that would not obtain cover even under normal market conditions, unduly benefit from the measure.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 384/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. 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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