Bulgaria: State aid for consultancy services
On 26 July 2010 the Bulgarian authorities notified in accordance with Article 108(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) a temporary aid scheme for granting limited amounts of compatible aid for the provision of consultancy services to enterprises in difficulty helping to mitigate the negative results of the economic slowdown.
The aid will consist in providing the consultancy services to the beneficiaries in the following areas: a) analysis and restructuring of the activities of the applicant; b) financial management and controlling; c) risk assessment and assessment of critical points in the undertaking's activity; d) the use of insurance covering the risk of non-payment in commercial transactions; e) analysis of the capabilities and the training needs of staff undertaking work in the conditions of the financial crises; f) other eligible consultancy services including those related to the application procedure, for the visualization and for the audit of the project.
The aid will be provided in the form of direct grant. The granting authority for the scheme is the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.
The total estimate budget of this state aid scheme is BGN 1 955 830 (EUR 1 million). The scheme applies only to small and medium-sized enterprises. Micro-enterprises and large undertakings are excluded from assistance under the scheme. The Bulgarian authorities estimate the number of beneficiaries to be between 51 and 100. The aid shall not exceed EUR 500 000 per beneficiary.
The European Commission gave the following assessment of the measure:
" State resources are involved in the notified scheme since the aid is granted from national (and EU) resources. The measure is selective since aid is awarded only to certain undertakings. Furthermore, it conveys an advantage by making available limited amounts of compatible aid which would not be available to the beneficiaries without the measure. The measure affects trade between Member States since the scheme is not limited to beneficiaries who are active in sectors where no intra-community trade exists, and hence distorts or threatens to distort competition." (par. 27 of the letter from the EC to Bulgaria - Brussels, 10.9.2010 C(2010)6317).
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory.
Any Evidence-Based Deliberation:
|Is there anything in the public record to suggest that evidence of the effectiveness of the proposed measure was considered during official deliberations?|
|Is there any evidence that alternatives to the proposed measure were considered?|
|Is there anything in the public record that suggests that empirical evidence informed the comparison across the alternatives available to government?|
|Was such evidence identified?|
|Is such evidence publicly available?|
|Did the official decision-maker in question provide an explanation as to why a chosen measure was favoured over alternatives?|
|Is there any evidence to suggest that potentially affected trading partners were consulted before the measures were taken?|
|Is there any evidence that safeguards have been put in place to ensure that implementation of the initiative is transparent and non-discriminatory?|
|Did the government state its intention to review the measure within one year of implementation?|
Date of inception: 31 Aug 2010
Duration: 4 months
GTA Evaluation: Red
the letter from the EC to Bulgaria - Brussels, 10.9.2010 C(2010)6317 - http://ec.europa.eu/community_law/state_aids/comp-2010/n333-10-en.pdf