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Brussels, 3 rd June 2009

State aid: Commission authorises temporary Finnish scheme allowing limited amounts of aid to boost real economy

The European Commission has authorised under EC Treaty rules on state aid a Finnish scheme aimed at companies encountering financing difficulties as a result of the credit squeeze in the current economic crisis. The scheme allows granting aid of up to €500 000 per company. The scheme meets the conditions of the Commission’s Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see IP/08/1993 ), as amended on 25 February 2009, because it is appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the entire Finnish economy, is limited in time, respects the relevant thresholds and applies only to companies that were not in difficulties before 1 July 2008. It is therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said "The Finnish measure facilitates the access of firms affected by the credit crunch to investment and working capital loans. This is an effective way of encouraging business investment and economic recovery, without unduly distorting competition."

The Finnish authorities designed the scheme on the basis of the rules laid down in the Commission's Temporary Framework on state aid to the real economy during the crisis (see IP/08/1993 ). In particular, the measures can be applied until 31 December 2010 and the scheme does not apply to firms that were already in difficulties on 1 July 2008 (i.e. before the credit crunch).

In view of the importance of the scheme for the overall Finnish economy, t he Commission considered that the scheme could be approved under Article 87 (3)(b) of the EC Treaty. The Finnish authorities demonstrated that the scheme is necessary, proportional and appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the entire Finnish economy.

The decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website , under the reference number N 224/2009. 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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