State aid: Commission approves prolongation and modification of German scheme to support research and development

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, the prolongation and modification of a German scheme to support research and development (‘R&D’), the ‘European Recovery Programme – Mezzanine for Innovation” managed by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (‘KfW’) and financed from a special historical fund. The scheme provides senior and subordinated loans under favourable conditions for the long-term financing of R&D projects. The scheme was first approved by the Commission in 2011. The current version of the scheme was last prolonged in January 2021 and was set to expire at the end of June 2021 (SA.60182). Germany notified the following modifications to the scheme: (i) a prolongation of the scheme until 31 December 2025; (ii) an additional budget of around €1.4 billion; (iii) the inclusion of costs for contract research among the ones eligible for compensation; and (iv) the reinforcement of the novelty requirement concerning the research dimension, as only those experimental development projects whose aim is to develop new products, processes or technical services that go beyond the international state of art will be eligible to receive support. The Commission assessed the measure under the 2014 Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (RDI) and concluded that the scheme will continue to provide long-term financing for R&D projects in a way that is compatible with the internal market. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.59148 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.