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Brussels, 19 th June 2009

State aid: Commission approves budget increase for Austrian real economy crisis measure

The European Commission has approved, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a budget increase of €10 billion for the Austrian scheme to grant temporary aid to help businesses to deal with the current economic crisis initially approved on 20 March 2009 (see IP/09/454 ). Aust ria has notified the amendment in order to be allowed to grant public guarantees to large enterprises on the basis of the national legal measure "Unternehmensliquidätsstärkungs-gesetz" . The budget increase 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 the measure 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 credit crunch makes it difficult for companies to get loans and so Austria's request to increase its budget for its Temporary Framework scheme to boost lending to the real economy is justified ."

The underlying framework scheme, "Österreichregelung Kleinbeihilfen", was approved by the Commission on 20 March 2009 (see IP/09/454 ). The scheme was designed to comply with the Temporary Framework for state aid measures (see IP/08/1993) and includes the granting of public guarantees to all kinds of companies. The total budgetof the scheme was estimated to be up to € 500 million.

The approved budget increase of €10 billion is aimed at extending the possibility to grant public guarantees to the benefit of large enterprises under the national legal measure "Unternehmensliquiditätsstärkungsgesetz. This amendment meets the conditions of the Commission's Temporary Framework.

The decision on the amendment will be made available under the case numbers N 317/2009 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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