State aid worth 30 m euros for Romanian SMEs

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The European Commission has authorized the state aid scheme worked out for SMEs in Romania, with the total value of the aid to be provided being worth 30 million euros, according to the Competition Council.

The state aid is to be awarded to economic operators that are registered with the portfolio of the State Assets Recovery Authority (AVAS) or the Ministry of Economy (ME), and is to help them survive the world financial-economic crisis.

„This state aid scheme was worked out to save the small and medium-sized enterprises in the AVAS and the Ministry of Economy’s portfolios from falling because of the economic crisis, being meant as a temporary and reversible support to such companies now in difficulty. The approval from the European Commission represents a sine qua non condition for the scheme to be implemented,’ Bogdan Chiritoiu, the chairman of the Romanian Competition Council explained.

The total estimated budget of the state aid scheme will be 30 million euros, out of which 15 million are to be injected in enterprises in 2009. The necessary money will be allotted from the state budget, via the AVAS and ME budgets. The maximum value of the state aid to be granted to a beneficiary of the scheme will be the equivalent of 2.5 million euros.

This state aid to be granted based on the scheme will mean credits to be given for no more than 6 months, with an interest rate to be equal with the reference rate adopted by the European Commission for Romania, plus 1 percent (currently, the reference rate is 17.29 percent). The beneficiaries can be economic operators from all the activity sectors, except for the coal and steel, agriculture, fishing and aqua-culture sectors. The maximum number estimated of beneficiaries of the scheme was 15.

The state aid scheme will be carried out for two years, 2009-2010, with the possibility existing to be prolonged by one year in the context of the world economic-financial crisis not being solved.

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