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EXME09 / 27.02
News from the Communication Directorate General's midday briefing
Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Générale Communication
27 / 02 / 09
The European Commission has authorised under EC Treaty rules on state aid a German scheme aimed at providing relief to companies encountering financing difficulties as a result of the credit squeeze in the current economic crisis. The scheme allows authorities at federal, regional and local level to grant aid in the form of subsidized guarantees for investment and working capital loans concluded by 31 December 2010. The scheme meets the conditions of 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), as amended on 25 February 2009, because it is limited in time, respects the relevant thresholds and applies only to companies that were not in difficulty 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.
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des dispositions du traité CE relatives aux aides d’État, un régime français visant à aider les entreprises connaissant des difficultés financières à la suite du resserrement du crédit inhérent à la crise économique actuelle. Ce régime autorise les autorités nationales, régionales et locales à accorder des aides sous forme de garanties subventionnées pour des crédits d’investissement et des crédits-fonds de roulement accordés d'ici au 31 décembre 2010. Le régime satisfait aux conditions du cadre temporaire de la Commission pour les aides d'État destinées à favoriser l'accès au financement dans le contexte de la crise économique et financière actuelle puisqu'il est limité dans le temps, respecte les seuils fixés et ne s'applique qu'aux entreprises qui n'étaient pas en difficulté au 1er juillet 2008. Il est donc compatible avec l'article 87, paragraphe 3, point b), du traité CE, qui autorise les aides visant à remédier à une perturbation grave de l'économie d'un État membre.
The European Commission has authorised under state aid rules based on the EC Treaty, two schemes, first notified to the Commission on 10 February 2009, offering loan guarantees and, specifically for businesses investing in the production of green products, interest rate subsidies. The two aid measures allow for a total combined risk exposure of £8 billion in the amounts guaranteed or loaned. They are part of the measures adopted by the UK to tackle the current economic crisis and should help businesses face financing problems because of the credit squeeze. The loan guarantee measure will allow companies to receive State guarantees, at subsidised rates, to raise investment or working capital. As regards interest rate subsidies for green products, the scheme will make it easier for producers to invest in products with an environmental benefit. The scheme will initially concern the car industry, but will be open to all sectors. Both schemes meet the conditions imposed by the Commission’s temporary state aid framework that gives Member States additional possibilities for providing businesses with improved access to financing during the economic and financial crisis (see IP/08/1993), as amended on 25 February 2009. They are therefore compatible with Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty, which permits aid intended to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
La Commission européenne a autorisé, en vertu des règles du traité CE sur les aides d'État, la première d’une série de mesures d’aides aux entreprises, que le Luxembourg a adoptée pour faire face à la crise économique actuelle. Cette mesure permet au Luxembourg d'accorder jusqu'au 31 décembre 2010 des aides allant jusqu'à 500 000 euros aux entreprises susceptibles d'avoir une influence structurante sur l'économie nationale ou régionale.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy, will pledge on 2 March in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) €436 million ($554 million) to the Palestinian people for 2009 at the “Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza”. The Conference, co-chaired by Egypt and Norway, will also be attended by the other members of the Quartet for the Middle East Peace Process: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, US Secretary of State Clinton, Russia Foreign Minister Lavrov, EU HRSG Solana and Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg; and representatives of all international donors to the Palestinians. The Commission’s pledge will be dedicated to humanitarian aid and early recovery of the Gaza Strip. It will also continue supporting the Palestinian Authority in the implementation of the overall Palestinian Reform and Development Plan as well as UNRWA’s programmes for the benefit of the Palestine Refugees. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad will also offer to all donors the PEGASE mechanism to channel their assistance to Gaza.
The euro area (EA16) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2% in January 2009, compared with 8.1% in December 2008. It was 7.3% in January 2008. The EU27 unemployment rate was 7.6% in January 2009, compared with 7.5% in December 2008. It was 6.8% in January 2008. Eurostat estimates that 18.412 million men and women in the EU27, of which 13.036 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in January 2009. Compared with December 2008, the number of persons unemployed increased by 386 000 in the EU27 and by 256 000 in the euro area. Compared with January 2008, unemployment went up by 2.194 million in the EU27 and by 1.641 million in the euro area. These figures are published by Eurostat.
Euro area annual inflation was 1.1% in January 2009, down from 1.6% in December. A year earlier the rate was 3.2%. Monthly inflation was -0.8% in January 2009. EU annual inflation was 1.7% in January 2009, down from 2.2% in December. A year earlier the rate was 3.4%. Monthly inflation was -0.6% in January 2009. These figures come from Eurostat. In January 2009, the lowest annual rates were observed in Luxembourg (0.0%), Portugal (0.1%), Spain and France (0.8% each), and the highest in Latvia (9.7%), Lithuania (9.5%) and Romania (6.8%). Compared with December 2008, annual inflation fell in twenty-four Member States, remained stable in one and rose in two. The lowest 12-month averages up to January 2009 were registered in the Netherlands (2.2%), Portugal (2.4%) and Germany (2.6%), and the highest in Latvia (14.7%), Bulgaria (11.4%) and Lithuania (11.0%).
The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso will take part on Monday, 2 March in the conference "EU Enlargement - 5 years after", organised by the Czech Presidency in collaboration with the European Commission. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, will also take part. The aim is to send a positive message underling the benefits to citizens, such as peace, liberty, democracy in Europe. It is also expected to evaluate the political, economic and social effects of enlargement. Three workshops are programmed: macro-financial stability, the EU internal market, and labour mobility within the EU. The conference will be broadcast live by Czech television CT24 (the national 24-hour news channel) and by the website of the Czech Presidency (www.eu2009.cz). Some 400 participants are expected.