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Brussels, 16 th June 2009

State aid: Commission approves prolongation of Italian bank guarantee scheme

The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, the prolongation of an Italian guarantee scheme for banks. The Commission found the prolongation of the measures, initially approved on 13 November 2008 (see IP/08/1706 ), to be in line with its Communication on state aid to overcome the financial crisis (see IP/08/1495 ). In particular, the extended measures are limited in time and scope. They are therefore compatible with Article 87.3.b of the EC Treaty that allows aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The extension of the guarantee scheme for banks provides Italy with a means of maintaining confidence in its financial system and thus supporting the economy, while at the same time limiting distortions of competition".

The prolongation of the bank guarantee scheme aims at further stabilising the financial markets by sustaining the medium and long term financing of banks. It was notified to the Commission on 29 May 2009. Apart from the prolongation, all conditions (such as eligible institutions, remuneration and safeguard conditions) remain as laid down in the original decision (see IP/08/1706 ).

The Commission found that the measures were well targeted, proportionate, and limited in time and scope. It therefore concluded that the scheme was an appropriate means of maintaining confidence in Italy's financial market and sustaining the liquidity of the banking system.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 328/2009 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. 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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