ANNOUNCEMENT 17 Dec 2008In December 2008, the government of Belgium announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Belgium - Brussels,19 May 2009 C(2009)4080. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_NN21_2009 >
On 17 December 2008 the Belgian authorities contacted the European Commission regarding their intention to introduce supporting measures in R&D in the aeronautical sector for the period 1 January 2009 - 31 December 2011.
The global budget of the Scheme for the period 2009-2013 is estimated to amount 178 million euros. Belgian authorities estimate the number of beneficiaries to range from 11 to 50 per year.
Belgian authorities specify that only projects related to R&D in the sector can benefit from the aid. Projects related to the Airbus A350 XWB or the Airbus A380 constitute examples of potential beneficiaries.
Supporting measures will be provided under the form of either reimbursable subsidies (0% interest rate) or repayable advances.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within themeaning of Article 87(1) of the EC Treaty and gave the followingassessment:
"-The Scheme is selective since it is provided on a discretionary basis by Belgian authorities
-The Scheme operates with financial resources from the federal budget, which constitutes state aid.
-The Scheme provides an advantage to the beneficiaries relative to their competitors within the European Union by contributing to their R&D expenses.
-The Scheme targets the whole sector (i.e aeronautics). It is therefore likely to affect trade between member states." (par. 33 of the letter from the EC to Belgium - Brussels,19 May 2009 C(2009)4080 'translated from French')
The Commission however decided to consider the measure compatible with theCommon Market according to the Article 87(3)(b) EC Treaty.
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.