ANNOUNCEMENT 04 Mar 2009In March 2009, the government of Romania announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Romania - Brussels, 04.05.2009 C (2009) 3460 - Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N129_2009 >
On 4 March 2009 the Romanian authorities notified to the Commission a rescue aid scheme for companies in which AVAS and the Ministry of Economy hold assets.
The presently assessed aid scheme is part of a measure called "Government decision to constitute a state aid system intended to rescue the companies laid down in the AVAS and the Ministry of Economy portfolio in view to overcome the global economic crisis effects", under which financial support can be granted to small and medium-sized enterprisesin difficulty.
The aim of the scheme is to grant temporary and reversible assistance to a firm confronted with an important deterioration of its financial situation reflected by an acute liquidity crisis or technical insolvency.
Under the proposed scheme rescue aid will be granted in the form of loans for a period of up to six months. The total maximum budget of the scheme is EUR 30 million (lei equivalent) for the two years concerned i.e. EUR 15 million lei equivalent each for 2009 and 2010.
The Commission found that the scheme falls within the scope of Article 87(1) of the EC Treaty and gave the following assessment:
" The granting of funding to SMEs in difficulties at conditions they would not have been able to obtain on the market represents a financial advantage. The advantage is of a selective nature since it is only granted to certain SMEs in difficulties in Romania. The aid granted will strengthen the position of these beneficiaries compared to that of their competitors in Romania or other Member States and must therefore be regarded as distorting competition and affecting trade between Member States. Indeed, the beneficiaries will belong to a large number of sectorsin which intense intra- Community trade exists. Moreover this measure is granted from the budget of AVAS and the Ministry of Economy, i.e. through public resources." (par. 23 of the letter from the EC to Romania - Brussels, 04.05.2009 C (2009) 3460).
However, the Commission concludedthat the notified scheme fulfils all the conditions laid down by the Community Guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid to firms in difficulty.
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.