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Brussels, 30 th September 2009

State aid: Commission approves €2.4 billion regional tax credit scheme for new investment in Sicily

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty State aid rules, an Italian aid scheme in the form of tax credits. The scheme, with a total budget of €2.4 billion between 2009 and 2013, would support initial investments in Sicily with a view to promoting regional development. The Commission concluded that the scheme meets the requirements of the 2007 Regional Aid Guidelines (see IP/05/1653 ).

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes commented: "I am satisfied that the positive effects of this scheme on regional development outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid ".

On 12 December 2008, Italy notified a regional aid scheme designed to support initial investment projects in Sicily. The Sicily region is eligible for regional aid under Article 87(3)(a) of the EC Treaty as an area with an abnormally low standard of living and high unemployment.

The aid would be granted in the form of a tax credit that can be used to offset other fiscal or social security payments. The scheme estimated budget amounts to €2.4 billion for the period 2009-2013.

The Commission assessed the aid project under its 2007 Regional aid Guidelines (see IP/05/1653 ). The Commission's assessment found that the aid would provide an incentive for companies to carry out new investments in the Sicily region. Moreover, only expenditure incurred until 31 December 2013 would be eligible, in line with the validity of the Italian Regional Aid Map 2007-2013 (see IP/07/1779 ). The aid would be conditional upon the obligation of maintaining the investment during a minimum period of five years, or 3 years for SMEs, after the completion of the project.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 675/2008 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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