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Brussels, 5 June 2009

State aid: Commission approves amendment to German crisis measure allowing aid of up to €500.000

The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, an amendment to a German scheme allowing to grant aid of up to €500.000 per company, initially approved on 30 December 2008 (see IP/08/2063 ). The amendment will allow more flexible risk-capital investments until 2010. It is in line with 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 ), because it is limited in time and only applies to 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.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The current crisis affects in particular the availability of risk capital. Germany has taken advantage of the Temporary Framework by opening a scheme on limited amounts of aid to direct grants of risk capital up to €500,000. The Commission has done its part, by assessing the amendment swiftly."

The underlying scheme, "Bundesreglung Kleinbeihilfen" , had initially been approved by the Commission on 30 December 2008 as one of the first real economy crisis measures (see IP/08/2063 ). The scheme has been designed on the basis of section 4.2.2. of the Temporary Framework regarding limited amounts of aid.

The amendment is aimed at facilitating the access to risk capital especially for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that are in their early stages of development. In particular, it will allow Germany to make available risk-capital injunctions in the form of direct grants up to €500,000. Private investment, particularly in the form of public private fund constructions, is explicitly excluded from the scheme. The measure expires by the end of 2010. The amendment 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 ).

The decision on the amendment will be made available under the case numbers N 299/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website. 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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