ANNOUNCEMENT 11 May 2009In May 2009, the government of Romania announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Romania - Brussels, 05.06.2009 C(2009)4501. Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N286_2009 >
the letter from the EC to Romania - Brussels, 29.7.2010 C(2010)5418. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N173_2010 >
the letter from the EC to Romania - Brussels, 29.03.2011 C(2011)1997 final. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_32551 >
On 11 May 2009, Romania 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 - N286/2009
The aid will be provided in the form of subsidized guarantees for investment and working capital loans. The scheme is a national framework scheme. State-owned Export-Import Bank of Romania (hereinafter referred to as EximBank) will guarantee the loans granted by commercial banks to undertakings on behalf of the Romanian State.
The Romanian authorities estimate that the guaranteed amount of loans will not exceed RON 450 million and the aid amount will not exceed RON 20.34 million in period 2009-2010.
The potential beneficiaries of the scheme are SMEs and large enterprises. The scheme applies to the whole territory of Romania, and is open to all sectors of the economy.
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 loan guarantees are made available by national, regional and municipal organisations. 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. 30 -33 of the letter from the EC to Romania -Brussels, 05.06.2009 C(2009)4501).
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. 35-42 of the letter).
Prolongation and amendment to the framework scheme "Temporary aid scheme for granting aid in form of guarantees" - State aid N 173/2010 and SA.32551
On 11 May 2009 the Romanian authorities notified to the Commission an amendment to the aforementioned scheme.
The Romanian authorities notified an amendment to the approved aid scheme to increase the maximum investment loan amount by its calculation on the basis of the annual EU 27 average labour costs. In the framework scheme N 286/2009, the guaranteed maximum loan may not exceed the total annual wage bill of the beneficiary (including social charges as well as the cost of personnel working on the company site but formally in the payroll of subcontractors) for 2008. This criterion is considered restrictive due to the fact that the Romanian economic context is still dominated by the effects of the crisis and the financial needs imposed by the implementation of an investment project remain on high level. (par. 5 of the letter from the EC to Romania -Brussels, 29.7.2010 C(2010)5418)
The budget of the scheme is not changed.
All other elements of the approved scheme remain unchanged.
On 10 February 2011 Romania notified the prolongation of the existing guarantee scheme until 31 December 2011.
The Romanian authorities estimate that the number of beneficiaries will be between 11 and 50 during the prolonged period.
The Romanian authorities estimate that the guaranteed amount of loans will not exceed RON 200,000,000.
The EC decided not to raise objections regarding the prolongation of the measure.
The EC considers that the notified amendment is in conformity with the Temporary Framework and considers it to be compatible with the Treaty on the basis of Article 107(3)(b) 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.