ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 26 March 2009, Ireland notified the Irish Framework "Limited amounts of compatible aid" - State aid N 186/2009.
The aid will be provided in the form of transparent forms of aid, as defined by the General Block Exemption Regulation, and in particular, in the form of direct grants, reimbursable grants, interest rate subsidies, subsidized public loans. The scheme is explicitly based on Article 87(3)(b) EC Treaty, and relies on section 4.2.2 of the Commission communication "Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis."
The aid volume available under this scheme has been estimated by the Irish authorities not to exceed EUR 100 Mio. Aid under this scheme can be granted in 2009 and 2010. The scheme applies to SMEs and large firms.
The Commission stated that the notified measure constitutes state aid within the meaning of Article 87 (1) of the EC Treaty and gave the following assessment:
" State resources are involved in the notified scheme since the aid is granted from national state resources, via the respective aid granting authorities, particularly the Irish enterprise development agencies. The measure is selective since it will be granted only to certain firms. The measure conveys an advantage by making available limited amounts of 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 which are active in sectors where no intra-community trade exists. The measure distorts or threatens to distort competition. "(par. 21-25 of the letter from the EC to Ireland - Brussels, 14.04.2009 C(2009)2968).
Article 87(3)(b) of the EC Treaty enables the Commission to declare aid compatible with the Common Market if it is "to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State." This aid has to be applied restrictively and must tackle a disturbance in the entire economy of the Member State according to the interpretation of the Article 87(3)(b) by the Court of First Instance.
The Commission referred to its Communication on the financial crisis (Temporary Framework) and concluded that the Measure complies with the conditions laid therein. Therefore, despite the measure constituting State aid pursuant to the Article 87(1) EC, it is compatible with the Common Market according to the Article 87(3)(b) EC Treaty. The Commission raises no objections against the measure at issue and authorizes it as emergency intervention in the face of the current financial crisis. (par. 27-32 of the letter).
Amendment to the Framework Scheme "Limited amounts of compatible aid" (N 186/2009) - State aid N 473/2009
By electronic notification of 6 August 2009 Ireland notifiedan amendment to the framework scheme "Limited amounts of compatible aid"(N 186/2009).
Ireland provided extensive data showing that the financialcrisis is still affecting its whole economy. In order to counter thenegative effects the Irish authorities notify an amendment to theapproved aid scheme in relation to the size of the estimated budget andthe number of beneficiaries. In this respect the decision of 14 April2009 on the existing scheme stipulated that the overall aid volume hasbeen estimated not to exceed EUR 100 Mio and that the number ofbeneficiaries hasbeen estimated not to exceed 1000 firms. In theirnotification of the amendment the Irish authorities indicated thataccording to recent estimations the overall budget will not exceed EUR350 Mio. and that the number of beneficiaries will not exceed 2000 firms. All other elements of the approved scheme remain unchanged.
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.
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