ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
Interest payment subsidy
On 17 March 2009, The Netherlands notified the measure "Nederlands nationaal kader voor het tijdelijk verlenen van beperkte steunbedragen."
The Netherlands consider that the financial crisis starts affecting the real economy. The Dutch authorities have delivered data by the Dutch Office of Economic Analysis showing that the economy will suffer a decline of 3.5% in 2009. The most important factor contributing to this decline is the drop in external trade by an unprecedented 9.75%. Therefore, the notified measure aims at remedying a serious disturbance in the economy of The Netherlands by granting limited amounts of aid to SMEs and large companies.
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 form of grants, interest rate subsidies, loans where the gross grant equivalent has been calculated on the basis of the communication on the revision of the method for setting the reference and discount rates, and public guarantees.
The scheme applies to SMEs and large companies. The Netherlands estimate the number of beneficiaries to be between 51 and 100 firms.
The Commission stated that the notified measure constitutes state aid within the meaning of Article 87 (1) of the EC Treaty. The Dutch authorities do not contest that conclusion.
"State resources are involved in the notified scheme since the aid is granted from national, regional and local resources, via the respective aid granting authorities at national, regional or local level. 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. 22-26 of the letter from the EC to the Netherlands - Brussels, 01.04.2009 C(2009)2573)
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. 28-34of the letter).
Prolongation of Dutch limited amounts of compatible aid scheme - State aid n° SA.32506 (2011/N)
On 1 February 2011 the Dutch authorities notified the prolongation of the existing aid scheme until 31 December 2011. All other elements of the original scheme will not be changed.
The Commission gave the following assessment:
"The Commission observes that the prolongation of the scheme is a response to the continuing difficulties that enterprises in The Netherlands continue to experience in obtaining funding by the banks. Even though in broad terms the health of the banking sector has improved compared with the situation existing one year ago, the recovery is still fragile as the future evolution of financing remains uncertain. '...' Against this background and taking into account the residual fragility of the recovery process and the possibility of setbacks in that process, the continuation of the "Small amounts of compatible aid" scheme can be deemed necessary to facilitate companies' access to finance. The Commission considers that an abrupt withdrawal of the scheme might put further stress on the recovery process. The Commission therefore considers that the prolongation of the scheme until the end of 2011 is appropriate, necessary and proportional to remedy a serious disturbance of the Dutch economy." (par. 15-16 of the letter from the EC to the Netherlands -Brussels, 18.02.2011 C(2011)1053 final)
The Commission decided therefore to consider the notified prolongation of the aid scheme as compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU.
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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