ANNOUNCEMENT 26 Mar 2009In March 2009, the government of Italy announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 25.05.2009 C(2009)4152. Available from : < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_N185_2009 >
On 26 March 2009, Italy submitted to the European Commission a notification, concerning the restructuring and the rescue parts of a national scheme linked to a "Fund for recuing and restructuring SMEs in difficulty". The notified scheme concerns the possibility of granting of rescue and restructuring aid to medium-sized enterprises in difficulties from the reserves accumulated in the dedicated Fund. The notified measure aims at broadening the scope of an existing Fund, initially designed to support only large enterprises.
For 2009, the estimated budget amounts to EUR 35 million; the estimated total amount of the Fund, for the entire duration of the scheme, amounts to EUR 500 million.
The duration of the aid scheme is foreseen until 31 December 2013.
The commission found that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 87(1) of the EC Treaty and gave the following assessment:
'The granting of funding to enterprises in difficulties at conditions which 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 medium-sized enterprises with more than 50 employees and since only firms in difficulties may benefit from the scheme. The advantage is financed by the public resources of the Fund. Since the scheme is open to all sectors of the economy, with the only exception of the steel, coal, fisheries, aquaculture and agriculture ones, it cannot be ruled out that competition and trade will be affected.' (par. 28 of the letter from the EC to Italy - Brussels, 25.05.2009 C(2009)4152)
The Commission acknowledging that the proposed scheme fulfills all the conditions laid out by the Community guidelines on rescue and restructuring aid to firms in difficulty, concludes that the notified scheme is compatible with the common market.
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.