ANNOUNCEMENT 04 May 2009In May 2009, the government of Italy announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, C(2009). Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N266_2009 >
the letter from the EC to Italy -Brussels, 17.12.2010 C(2010) 9469 final. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_32035 >
By electronic notification of 4 May 2009, Italy notified a guarantee scheme under the "Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis." (State aid N 266/2009)
The aid will be provided in the form of subsidised guarantees for investment and working capital loans. The scheme applies to small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") and large firms. The Italian authorities estimate that the total number of beneficiaries will exceed 1000 firms. The scheme applies to the whole territory of Italy, and is open to all sectors of the economy.
The Commission considers 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 loan guarantees are made available by national, regional and local authorities. The measure is selective since guarantees are awarded only to certain undertakings. The measure confers an advantage by relieving the beneficiaries of costs which they would have to bear under normal market conditions since, without the intervention by the State, the beneficiaries would obtain loans only at higher costs, if at all. The favouring of certain undertakings means that competition is distorted or threatened to be distorted. 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." (par. 32-35 of the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, C(2009))
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. 32 - 35of the letter).
Prolongation of the guarantee scheme "Temporary aid scheme for granting aid in the form of guarantees" (N 266/09) - State aid n° SA.32035 (2010/N)
On 6 December 2010,Italy notified the prolongation of the existing guarantee scheme until 31 December 2011.
The Commission decided to consider the prolongation of the scheme as compatible with Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU for thefollowing reasons:
"The Commission observes that the prolongation of the scheme is a response to the continuing difficulties that enterprises in Italy experience in obtaining funding by the banks. Even though in broad terms the health of the banking sector has improved compared with the situation one year ago, the recovery is still fragile as the future evolution of financing remains uncertain. Thus the risk persists that the banking system may not be ready to sustain the recovery when credit demands picks up." (par. 20 of the letter from the EC to Italy -Brussels, 17.12.2010 C(2010) 9469 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.