ANNOUNCEMENT 26 May 2009In May 2009, the government of Austria announced a change in private-sector financial support.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
the letter from the EC to Austria - State aid N 317/2009. Available from < http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?id=3_231454 >
On 26 May 2009 Austria notified an amendment to the existing federal framework scheme "Limited amounts of compatible aid under the Temporary Framework" ("Österreichregelung Kleinbeihilfen").
The Austrian authorities stated that under the macroeconomic situation lending conditions and credit availability remain negative. The Austrian authorities consider that in order to stimulate the national economy particularly large enterprises are urgently in need of a facilitated access to financing. Therefore the national legislator drafted a new national legal act called "Unternehmensliquiditätsstärkungsgesetz". This legal act will allow aid to be granted in the form of public guarantees to the benefit of large enterprises.
Austria notified the amendment in order to increase the estimated overall budget due to the insertion of the above mentioned legal act "Unternehmensliquiditätsstärkungsgesetz" as further legal base under the existing federal framework. For the amended scheme the Austrian authorities indicate an additional amount of EUR 10 billion.
The Commission approved the scheme "Limited amounts of compatible aid under the Temporary Framework" (N 47a/2009) on 20 March 2009. In its evaluation of the original state aid scheme the European Commission found that the implementation of the scheme would likely distort competition within the Common Market.
"State resources are involved in the notified scheme since the aid is granted from federal and regional resources, via the respective aid granting authorities at federal and regional level; the measure is selective since aid is awarded only to certain undertakings; the measure conveys an advantage by making available limited amounts of compatible aid which would not be available to the beneficiaries without the measure; the measure affects trade between Member States since the scheme is not limited to beneficiaries which are active in sectors where no intra-community trade exists; the measure distorts or threatens to distort competition." (par. 20-24 of the letter from the EC to Austria- Brussels, C(2009) final).
The Commission, however, considered that the scheme was in conformity with the Temporary Framework and with the Treaty on the basis of Article 87 (3) (b). Therefore, the notified amendment does not alter such assessment. (par. 10 of the letter from the EC to Austria -State aid N 317/2009).
For these reasons, the Commission considered that the notified measure is in conformity with the Temporary Framework and considers it to be compatible with the Treaty on the basis of Article 87(3)(b).
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.