ANNOUNCEMENT 01 Jan 2009In January 2009, the government of Germany announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Germany - Brussels, 7.04.2009 K(2009)2785. Avaliable from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/cases/227141/227141_942979_33_1.pdf >
On 18 August 2008, registered on the same day, Germany notified the above mentioned aid measure, pursuant to Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty.
According to the German authorities, the entrepreneurial activity in the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (hereinafter MV) suffers from an equity gap, which hinders the economic development of MV. Germany has provided studies showing the lack of risk capital in MV. The notified measure therefore aims at filling in this equity gap with the establishment of a risk capital funds, the Technologiefonds Mecklenburg Vorpommern (Technologiefonds).
The Technologiefonds has two objectives:
Firstly, to provide risk capital to SMEs, together with private investors (the Risk Capital part), under the Community Guidelines on State aid to promote risk capital investments in small and medium-sized enterprises (the "RC-Guidelines").
The second objective is to support young innovative enterprises (YIE-part) through risk capital investment, silent participations and loans and will be assessed under the Community Framework for State Aid for Research and Development and Innovation (the "R&D&I Framework").
The total budget of the notified measure is up to EUR 6 million. Germany expects the YIE-part to cover about EUR 4 million and the Risk Capital part to cover about EUR 2 million.
The Commission assessed the first part of the aid package (the Risk Capital part) at different levels: level of investors, level of the Fund, Fund management, the SMEs invested in and concluded that the measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 87(1) of the EC Treaty at the level of undertakings in which investment is made. The Commission gave the following assessment:
" The measure involves State resources as the government of MV will contribute to the establishment of the fund. The measure is selective as it only targets micro- and small enterprises active in the area of MV. Although the fund's investors are considered to behave as normal economic operators in a market economy, it cannot be excluded, given the regional focus of the measure, that the measure provides an advantage to the target enterprises as it will provide them with privileged access to equity financing, compared to other sectors or locations. The measure has the potential to affect trade between Member States, as there is the possibility that the eligible SMEs are engaged or will get engaged in activities involving intra-Community trade." (par.71 - Brussels, 7.04.2009 K(2009)2785 ).
The Commission assessed the second part of the aid package (YIE-part) and came to the conclusion that the notified measure constitutes State aid within the meaning of Article 87 (1) of the EC Treaty. The Commission gave the following assessment:
" The notified measure allows a limited number of young and innovative enterprises to receive financial means, by means of State resources. Consequently, the financial aid from the State strengthens the position of the 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. 105 of the letter).
The Commission concluded that the Risk capital part of the notified measure complies with all the conditions as set out in the Community Guidelines on State aid to promote risk capital investment in small and medium-sized enterprises. It alsostated that the YIE-part of the notified measure complies with all the conditions as set out in the R&D&I Framework. Therefore, on the basis of the foregoing assessment, the Commission concluded that Risk capital part and the YIE-part of the notified measure is compatible with the EC Treaty in application of its Article 87(3) (c).
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.