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Brussels, 2 nd October 2009

State Aid: Commission approves Dutch export-credit insurance scheme

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a Dutch measure to provide insurance coverage to exporters who are unable to obtain cover from the private market as a result of the current financial crisis. 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 is focussed specifically on the problem of the current unavailability of short-term export credit insurance cover in the private market. The Commission authorised the measure until 31 December 2010.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said "The Dutch measure will provide export firms with the insurance cover they need while the private market is not able to do so but avoids any disproportionate distortion of competition".

Under the notified scheme, the State will provide a reinsurance facility, which would top up the cover offered by credit insurers in cases where the existing credit limits have been reduced or new limits given by credit insurers are lower than the amount requested by the insured company. The maximum possible top-up amount provided by the Dutch State is 100% of the credit limit offered by the credit insurer.

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

  • sufficient proof has been provided that the necessary cover has become unavailable on the private insurance market as a consequence of the financial crisis;

  • the premiums 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 once there is again sufficient cover on the private market.

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

The decision will be published with reference N 409/2009 in the State Aid Register on DG Competition's website . 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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