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IP/09/454

Brussels, 23rd March 2009

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

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an Austrian measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. 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 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’.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said "The scheme will help alleviate the difficulties faced by Austrian businesses affected by the current credit crunch without giving rise to any undue distortions of competition”.

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 aid will be granted in the form of direct grants, interest rate subsidies, subsidised public loans and public guarantees. Under the scheme, limited amounts of compatible aid can be granted until 31 December 2010.

The scheme forms part of an overall federal package of measures ("Rahmenregelung für Beihilfenmaßnahmen zur Bekämpfung der aktuellen Finanz- und Wirtschaftskrise") with an overall budget of €300 million aimed at remedying a serious disturbance in the Austrian economy.

The decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition's website under the reference number N 47a/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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