ANNOUNCEMENT 24 Sep 2012
On 16 April 2013, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against a measure by the German government to provide direct grants for risk capital investments ("INVEST"). The measure has a total budget of 150 million EUR for the years 2013-2016.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Commission case summary (SA.35455)
European Commission letter to Germany, 16.04.2013
According to Germany, "The measure aims at increasing provision of risk capital for small, young innovative enterprises up to their expansion phase through direct grants to private investors. [...] the measure should (i) provide for a better access of innovative enterprises to venture capital and by this strengthen their capital base sustainably, (ii) attract natural persons with entrepreneur spirit for risk-bearing capital investments and (iii) incentivize existing business angels to invest more venture capital into young innovative enterprises, and more often. [...] The duration of the measure is until 31.12.2016. [...] The overall budget of the measure is EUR 150 million and the indicated annual budget amounts to EUR 30 million in 2013 and EUR 40 million p.a. for the remaining period until 2016. [...] Under the measure at stake, direct grants will be provided to private investors for the acquisition of equity shares newly issued by investee enterprises through capital increase." (para. 3, 6, 7 and 8 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 16.04.2013).
Based on the findings of the European Commission, "[...] it cannot be excluded that the target enterprises will be in competition with enterprises from other Member States, [therefore] the measure should be considered as likely to distort or threaten to distort competition and likely to affect trade between Member States." (para. 43 letter from the EC to Germany, Brussels 16.04.2013)
In the GTA database the determination of whether a policy instrument discriminates against foreign commercial interests turns on whether it creates or alters the relative treatment of domestic firms versus foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory because the state aid is not available to competing firms outside of the implementing jurisdiction.