Brussels, 10 September 2010
State aid: Commission approves aid to compensate damages caused by the floods in Saxony, Germany
The European Commission has approved an aid scheme that allows to compensate companies for the damage caused by the floods of August 2010 in the German Federal State of Saxony. The Commission found that the measure was in line with Article 107 (2) (b) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, that allows aid to make good the damage caused by natural disasters.
In August 2010 certain areas of the German Federal State of Saxony were hit by heavy rain, which caused floods. As a result, many individuals and enterprises have suffered – often substantial – damages to their holdings.
Therefore, the German authorities have put in place an aid scheme to compensate for these damages. Aid under the scheme will be open to all enterprises. However, today's decision does not cover aid to enterprises active in agricultural production and the part of the forestry sector covered by the EU Guidelines on state aid in the Agriculture and Forestry Sector 2007 to 2013 (see IP/06/1697).
The Commission found that in view of their extent the floods which affected Germany in the course of August 2010 should indeed be classified as a natural disaster. The aid scheme designed by the German authorities serves only to compensate for the material damages effectively caused by the natural catastrophe. Furthermore, it introduces an appropriate mechanism to ensure that there will be no overcompensation. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is in line with EU state aid rules.
Approval of national state aid to compensate companies for damage caused by national disasters such as floods, fires or earthquakes is separate and distinct from EU support that can be granted under the Solidarity Fund (http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/funds/solidar/solid_en.htm). When there are allocations from the Globalisation Fund or other sources the national aid amount must be reduced accordingly to avoid overcompensation.
In August the Commission also approved Polish aid to compensate damages caused by floods in May in June of this year (see IP/10/1039)
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number N 359/2010 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.