Brussels, 22 nd June 2009
The European Commission has authorised, under EC Treaty state aid rules, a measure adopted by Finland to limit the adverse impact of the current financial crisis on export firms. The Commission found the measure to be in line with its Temporary Framework for state aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis (see ). In particular, the measure requires market-oriented remuneration and tackles the problem of the current unavailability of short-term export credit insurance cover in the private market. The Commission authorised the measure until 31 December 2010.
Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The export credit insurance scheme provides Finland with means of supporting firms in the areas where the market is temporarily not functioning properly while, at the same time, establishing safeguards to limit distortions of competition."
Under the notified scheme, the Finnish state agency Finnvera plc would provide short-term export-credit insurance coverage to companies established in Finland, which are confronted with a temporary unavailability of cover in the private market, for financially sound transactions. Finnvera´s share of risk would depend on the buyer's creditworthiness and on the level of political risk relating to the buyer's country. The maximum coverage would be 90% for both commercial and political risk, which means that the exporters would have to assume at least 10% of the underlying risk themselves.
The Commission concluded that the measure complies with the conditions laid down in the Temporary Framework for state aid to business during the crisis (see ). In particular, the measure meets the following criteria:
The necessary cover has become unavailable on the private insurance market as a consequence of the financial crisis. The unavailability of cover has been demonstrated by well established-exporters
The premiums required by Finnvera are aligned with those of the private market, as stipulated in the safeguard clause of the Commission's Communication on short-term export-credit insurance. The premiums are set at a level that provides an incentive for exporters to have recourse to private insurers as soon as sufficient cover will be available on the private market.
The measure includes safeguards to prevent financially unsound transactions and parties that would not obtain cover even under normal market conditions from benefitting from the measure.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N258/2009 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 .