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Brussels, 17 th December 2009

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

The European Commission has authorised, under EU State aid rules, a measure adopted by Austria to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting 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 a higher remuneration than that offered by the private market and tackles the problem of the current insufficiency 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: "The Austrian short-term export credit insurance scheme will limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on exporting firms. The premiums above the market price are an incentive for exporters and insurers to return to the private insurance market, as soon as sufficient cover will be available again."

The purpose of the Austrian scheme is to provide through Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (Austria's main provider of financial and information services to the export industry and the capital market) short-term export-credit insurance coverage to exporters established in Austria who are temporarily confronted with an unavailability of cover in the private market as a result of the financial crisis. The coverage will be available only for financially sound transactions with buyers in certain countries. In addition, the scheme provides reinsurance for insurance companies.

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

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

  • premiums charged in the Austrian scheme are above those charged in the private credit insurance market and are thus in line with the Commission's Communication on short-term export-credit insurance. As a result, the level of premiums for the State-supported export credit insurance and for the reinsurance provides an incentive for exporters to have recourse to private insurers once there is again sufficient cover on the private market.

Moreover, the measure provides safeguards ensuring that financially unsound transactions and counterparties, that would not obtain cover even under normal market conditions, do not unduly benefit from the measure.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 434/2009 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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