ANNOUNCEMENT 20 May 2009In May 2009, the government of Greece announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Greece - Brussels, 15.07.2009 C(2009)5729. Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N304_2009 >
the letter from the EC to Greece -Brussels, 28.02.2011 C(2011)1333 final. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_32512 >
On 20 May 2009, Greece notified a temporary aid scheme for granting limited amounts of compatible aid under the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis" (hereinafter referred to as the Temporary Framework). (State aid N 304/2009).
The assessed measure is part of a series of measures adopted by Greece to tackle the crisis. Aid schemes in the form of loans with subsidized interest rateand in the form of guarantees have been approved by the European Commission on 3 June 2009.
The aid will be provided in the form of direct grants. It is a transparent form of aid, as defined by the General Block Exemption Regulation. The budget of the scheme will amount to 2 billion EUR. The scheme applies to SMEs and large firms. The Greek authorities estimate the number of beneficiaries will be over 1000 firms.
The scheme applies in all sectors, with the exception of the sectoral exclusions of fisheries and primary production of agricultural products. Export aid and aid favoring domestic over imported goods and services are excluded.
The Commission concluded that the proposed 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 or Community resources, via the respective aid granting authorities at all levels. The measure is selective since aid is awarded only to certain undertakings. The measure 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 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 Greece - Brussels, 15.07.2009 C(2009)5729).
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 - 37of the letter).
Prolongation of scheme N 304/2009 "Limited amounts of compatible aid under the Temporary Framework" - State aid SA.32512 (2011/N)
On 10 February 2011 Greece notified the prolongation of the existing scheme until 31 December 2011.
The Commission considered that the prerequisites for the compatibility of schemes with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU that have been established by the Temporary Community Framework continue to apply. Furthermore, it considered that the notified prolongation of the scheme until 31 December 2011 complies with the requirements set out in point 2.2. of the Temporary Union Framework and is therefore compatible with the internal market. (par. 13-21 of the letter from the EC to Greece -Brussels, 28.02.2011 C(2011)1333 final.)
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.