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Brussels, 20th March 2009

State aid: Commission authorises Latvian temporary aid scheme to grant aid of up to €500 000

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a Latvian measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. Under the scheme, aid of up to €500 000 per firm may be granted in 2009 and 2010 to businesses facing funding problems because of the current credit squeeze. The aid will be granted in form of public guarantees. The scheme meets the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures, which gives Member States additional scope to facilitate access to financing in the present economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993). 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 scheme will help alleviate the difficulties faced by Latvian businesses affected by the current situation without giving rise to any undue distortions of competition”, said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “The Commission was able to approve the measures very quickly thanks to excellent cooperation with the Latvian authorities."

The scheme is based on the provisions of the temporary framework that deal with compatible aid of a limited amount. In particular, the maximum amount of aid does not exceed €500 000 per company and the scheme applies only to businesses which were not in difficulty on 1 July 2008.

The decision will be published in the State Aid Register on the website of DG Competition, under the reference number N 124/2009. 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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