ANNOUNCEMENT 04 May 2009In May 2009, the government of Italy announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, C(2009). Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N268_2009 >
Extension of the Scheme - SA.32039 : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_32039 >
On 4 May 2009, the Italian authorities notified a scheme for granting aid in the form of loans with subsidised interest rate under the "Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis." State aid N 268/2009
The aid will be provided in the form of subsidized public loans. The scheme applies to the whole territory of the Italy and is open to all sectors of the economy. The scheme applies to small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") and large firms.
The Commission found 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 subsidized loans are made available from national, regional, and local resources, via the respective aid granting authorities at national, regional, and local level. The measure is selective since it will be granted only to a limited number of firms located in the Italian Republic. 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 borrowers 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. 24-27 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. 29 - 35 of the letter).
SA.32039- Prolongation of the exisiting scheme
On 6 December 2010, Italy notified the EC the extension of the exisiting scheme until 31 December 2011. According to the EC competition website, the commission decided not to raise objections. However, the official letter is not available at this date.
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.