ANNOUNCEMENT 07 Sep 2009In September 2009, the government of France announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to France - Brussels, 17.06.2009 C(2009) 4540 final (french). Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N5_2009 >
On 7 September 2009 the French authorities notified the European Commissionthe implementation of a supporting programm related to industrial innovation called CARMAT.
The CARMAT program is aimed to conceive and develop an artificial heart and other elelectronic systems. Participants of the program are Carmat S.A.S (program leader), Vignal Artru Industries S.A., Hydrodynamique Et Frottement R&D S.A.S., Dedienne Santé S.A.S., PaxiTech S.A.S and several subcontractors such as SME's and research laboratories.
The supporting program, implemented by Oséo, a French state-ownedagency which provides support to innovation, will amount in total 73 879 957 EUR.49% of the budget is allowed to industrial research and 51% to experimental development. CARMAT S.A.S will be the main beneficiary (71 153 588 EUR). The program will be implemented until 31 December 2012.
The European Commission gave the following assessment:
The program CARMAT is financed by the French government trough the State agency Oséo and is therefore considered as state aid within the meaning of Article 87(1) of the EC. The measure is selective since is it only given to a limited number of companies. By contributing to their R&D expenses, the measure provides beneficiaries an advantage. Since these companies operate in sectors that are open to intra-community trade, the measure is likely to affect trade. The given state aid will distort competition since the companies benefit from a strengthened position in comparison with other foreign competitors. (par. 39-40 of the letter from the EC to France - Brussels, 17.06.2009 C(2009) 4540 final)
The Commission considers that the positive effects related to the aid in favour of CARMAT SAS win over the negative effects, in conformity with the R&D&I framework. Thus, the Commission decided to consider the aid as compatble with with art. 87 par. 3 c) of the Treaty. (par. 175-177 of the letter)
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of theextent to which its implementation affects the extent of discriminationagainst foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aidproposed here is discriminatory.