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Brussels, 2nd April 2009

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

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a Dutch measure to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis. Authorities at national, regional and local level may grant aid of up to €500 000 per firm in 2009 and 2010 to businesses facing funding problems because of the current credit crunch. The aid will be granted in the form of grants, interest rate subsidies, loans and public guarantees. The scheme meets the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary Framework giving Member States additional scope to facilitate access to financing in the present economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993). In particular, it is limited in time and scope and concerns only companies that were not in difficulties on 1 July 2008. 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 Dutch scheme will help businesses affected by the current credit crunch without unduly distorting competition”, said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “The Commission was able to approve the measures very quickly thanks to excellent cooperation with the Dutch authorities."

The scheme, notified on 17 March 2009, 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, that is before the unfolding of the crisis.

The scheme is intended to increase possibilities to give timely and well targeted aid to SMEs and large companies and will therefore significantly contribute to remedying the current financial and economic crisis.

The decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website, under the reference number N 156/2009. 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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