State aid: Commission inserts Greece back into the list of “marketable risk” countries for short-term export credit insurance as of 1 January 2020
Following the successful conclusion of its European Stability Mechanism stability support programme in August 2018, its full integration into the European Semester and the continued delivery of agreed reforms under the Enhanced Surveillance framework, the European Commission has decided to insert Greece back in the list of “marketable risk” countries for short-term export credit insurance as of 1 January 2020. Export credits enable foreign buyers of goods and/or services to defer payment. Deferred payment implies credit risk for the sellers/exporters, against which they insure themselves typically with private insurers (so-called export credit insurance). According to the 2012 Short-term export credit Communication, which has been in force since 2013, trade within EU countries (and certain non-EU countries listed in its Annex) with a maximum risk period of up to two years entails marketable risks and should, in principle, not be insured by the State or State supported insurers. In other words, as private insurers offer that type of insurance, there is no need for the State to step in and offer a similar product. However, due to the difficult economic situation and a lack of insurance capacity for credit risks related to exports to Greece, the Commission in 2013 decided, also based on input from public consultations, to remove Greece from the list of marketable risk countries and to consider short-term export credit risks towards Greece temporarily “non-marketable”. This decision was prolonged several times and the most recent amendment expires at the end of 2019. The Commission has now carried out a public consultation inviting Member States, private credit insurers and other interested parties to submit their comments on the availability of private credit insurance for exports to Greece. Based on the results of the consultation and taking into account the relevant economic indicators, in particular Greek sovereign ratings and corporate sector performance, the Commission has decided to insert Greece back on the list of marketable risk countries and to amend the Communication accordingly. This means that, as of 1 January 2020, short-term export credit risks towards Greece will be considered as marketable to be covered by private insurers. This is another indication of Greece’s continued normalisation and builds on the progress that has been made since the conclusion of the programme.