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State aid: Commission approves €500 million Romanian scheme to support companies in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine

The European Commission has approved an approximately €500 million (RON 2,500 million) Romanian scheme to support companies across sectors in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022 and amended on 20 July 2022 and on 28 October 2022, based on Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU'), recognising that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance.

The Romanian measure

Romania notified to the Commission, under the Temporary Crisis Framework, an approximately €500 million (RON 2,500 million) scheme to support companies across sectors in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Under the scheme, which will be administered by the 95% State-owned Romanian public development bank Banca de export import a Romaniei EximBank S.A (“EximBank”), the aid will take the form of (i) guarantees on loans; and (ii) subsidised loans.

In light of the high degree of economic uncertainty caused by the current geopolitical situation, the scheme aims  at ensuring that sufficient liquidity remains available to the companies in need.

The measures will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs') with an annual turnover above €4 million (RON 20 million) and large companies across sectors with some exceptions, such as gambling and betting activities, insurance, real estate activities, energy and fuel distribution and trade. Financial and credit institutions will also be excluded.

Under the first measure, with an estimated budget of approximately €300 million (RON 1,500 million) the guarantees will cover up to 90% of the loan or lease principal. Losses will be sustained proportionally by the credit institutions and the State.

The budget allocated for the second measure, under which the aid will take the form of subsidised loans, is approximately €200 million (RON 1,000 million).

The individual aid amount per beneficiary will be equal to either (i) 15% of its average total annual turnover over the last three closed accounting periods; or (ii) 50% of the energy costs incurred over a 12-month period preceding the application for aid. Exceptionally, when the beneficiaries can properly justify that they operate in sectors that are particularly affected by direct or indirect effects of the current crisis, the amount of the loan or lease may be increased (i) by a 12-month period for SMEs; and (ii) by a 6-month period for large enterprises.

The Commission found that the Romanian Framework scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, (i) the maturity of the guarantees and loans will not exceed six years; (ii) the guarantee premiums and the reduced interest rates respect the minimum levels set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework; and (iii) the support will be granted no later than 31 December 2023.

Furthermore, the aid in the form of guarantees is subject to safeguards to ensure that the advantages of the measure are passed on to the largest extent possible to the final beneficiaries via the financial intermediaries.

The Commission concluded that the Romanian scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework.

On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measures under EU State aid rules.

Click here for the full press release

 

Original article link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_6982

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