The European Commission has launched today its evaluation of the State aid rules for assessing State guarantees on loans (‘Guarantee Notice’). The initiative consists of: (i) a public consultation to gather views on the Guarantee Notice from all interested parties (including individuals or academia); (ii) an expert consultation to seek feedback from interested parties directly involved in or affected by the provision of State guarantees or with relevant expertise in the field of credit risk (e.g. Member States’ authorities, market participants or non-financial companies); (iii) a request for information to Member States in order to gather consolidated data and information about the practical use of the Guarantee Notice; and (iv) a Call for Evidence seeking feedback on the main aims of the evaluation, its scope and context. The Guarantee Notice provides (i) detailed guidance on how to calculate the aid amount in a State guarantee, (ii) simplified rules for small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’), including predefined ‘safe-harbour’ premiums, and (iii) guidance on how to design aid-free guarantee schemes for companies of all sizes. By providing guidance on the assessment of State guarantees under EU State aid rules, the Guarantee Notice aims at facilitating access to finance for companies, especially for SMEs, while limiting undue distortions of competition. The Commission finds it necessary to evaluate the Guarantee Notice because, since its last review in 2008, capital requirements have been increased, market conditions and risk management practices have evolved, and Member States have developed several methodologies for granting State guarantees. The Commission will now evaluate whether the Guarantee Notice achieved its objectives and if it is still fit for purpose. To help the Commission, an external contractor will technically analyze the information provided by the Member States in response to the information request. The evaluation will also draw on the experience gathered by the Commission when enforcing the State aid rules in this area. All parties, who have an interest in the matter, can submit their views and respond to the questionnaires in any official EU language on the Commission’s Have your say portal and on DG-Competition’s consultations webpage until 21 November 2022. The Commission will use this feedback in its evaluation of the Guarantee Notice, and aims at publishing the results of this evaluation in the first half of 2024.
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