ANNOUNCEMENT 05 Feb 2009In February 2009, the government of Spain announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
The official letter from the EC to Spain - Brussels, 5.02.2009 C(2009)791. Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases/227423/227423_920080_28_1.pdf >
On 10 September 2008 the Spanish authorities notified, according to Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty, the above mentioned aid scheme. The measure was notified on the basis of the Community Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (R&D&I Framework) and of the Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the common market in application of Articles 87 and 88 of the Treaty for the part of the scheme concerning investment State aid to small and medium-sized enterprises.
The objective of the measure is to support research, development and innovation activities undertaken within companies. The aid will be given for R&D projects, technical feasibility studies, industrial property rights costs for SMEs, young innovative enterprises, process and organizational innovation in services, innovation advisory services and innovation support services, loans for highly qualified personnel and innovation clusters. With regard to SMEs, investment aid will be granted as well. The budget amounts to EUR 72 millions with an annual forecast of EUR 12 millions. The beneficiaries of the aid granted under the notified aid scheme are enterprises of all sizes without any condition linked to their sector of activity. State aid is granted in the form of non - repayable direct grant. Aid is granted by the Development Agency of La Rioja.
"The notified scheme allows a limited number of enterprises to be relieved, by means of State resources, of a part of the R&D&I costs which they would normally have to bear themselves. Consequently, the financial aid from the State strengthens the position of these enterprises in relation to their competitors in the Community and therefore has potentially distorting effects on competition. Products of benefiting enterprises are or might be subject to intra-Community trade and therefore the aid is likely to affect trade between Member States." (par. 77 of the letter from the EC to Spain - Brussels, 5.02.2009 C(2009)791). Therefore, the Commission came to the conclusion that the notified scheme constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 87 (1) of the EC Treaty.
However, the Commission concluded that the aid granted under the scheme meets all the provisions of the R&D&I Framework and the relevant provisions of Commission Regulation (EC) No 800/2008. Thus, the Commission found that the aid granted on the basis of the aid scheme in question is compatible with the common market in accordance with Article 87 (3) (c) of the EC Treaty and has accordingly decided not to raise objections to the notified scheme.
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.