Commissie onderzoekt staatssteun voor de sanering van grote schulden door bedrijven (en)

woensdag 21 december 2005

The Commission has today decided to open an inquiry into aid granted in Greece for renegotiating expensive debts. This aid has been paid to undertakings in the Departments of Rhodope, Evros, Xanthi, the Dodecanese and the Islands of Lesbos, Samos and Chios and takes the form of subsidised loans and guarantees for loans.

A number of Greek decrees provide for various aid measures for agricultural, craft, shipbuilding, industrial and coal undertakings. The measures are intended for firms that are clearly in difficulty and involve:

  • consolidating expensive debts linked to loans granted for investments and/or for creating/adding to working capital into new subsidised loans, with the possibility of a grace period;
  • providing a state guarantee for the debt restructuring operation.

On the basis of the information currently available, it appears that the undertakings receiving the aid were in difficulty but that the granting of aid was not made conditional on the presentation of a restructuring plan, although Community rules on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty lay down that such a plan must be presented.

After receiving official notification of today's decision the Greek authorities will have one month in which to notify their observations and provide all necessary clarification. The decision will also be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and other interested parties will have one month from the date of publication to transmit their observations. These will be passed on to Greece, which will be able to comment on them.

Once it has received the clarification requested from the Greek authorities and any contributions from interested parties and Greece's comments on these, the Commission will rule as soon as possible on the compatibility of the aid with the common market.