The European Commission has established that the amendments to the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (hereinafter "the Fund") in support of companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic are in line with EU state aid rules.

The Commission approved the creation of the Fund on 14 December 2020. The Fund brings together the support of the Member States under the leadership of the European Investment Bank Group. It aims to respond in a coordinated way to the financing needs of European companies, mainly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by providing guarantees on debt instruments and equity instruments. All Member States have the opportunity to participate in the Fund. So far, 22 Member States have decided to participate (i.e. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden).

In view of the current needs arising from the continuing nature of the crisis, the Commission has approved the following amendments to the Fund: (i) an increase in the funding ceilings and the maximum maturity of certain guaranteed products; (ii) the possibility for banks to include loans and other financing options under the Fund's guarantee until 30 June 2022 and to further extend the maturity of these loans in duly justified circumstances; and (iii) a new product such as a basket of bonds to meet the specific financing needs of SMEs and mid-caps.

The Commission concludes that these amendments contribute to the management of the economic impact of the coronavirus in the 22 participating Member States. They are therefore necessary, appropriate and proportionate to address the serious economic difficulties of the participating Member States in accordance with Article 107 (3) (b) TFEU and the general principles set out in the Temporary Framework for State Aid. On this basis, the Commission approved the amendments under EU state aid rules.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case numbers SA.58218, SA.58219, SA.58221, SA.58222, SA.58224, SA.58225, SA.58226, SA.58227, SA.58228, SA.58229, SA.58230, SA.58232, SA.58233, SA.58235, SA.58236, SA.58237, SA.58238, SA.58239, SA.58242, SA.58243 and SA.58244 in the State aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Date: 22.11.2021

Source: European Commission

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