German businesses that are investing in the production of environmentally-friendly products can be offered loans at a lower rate of interest during the current economic crisis. Rates can be reduced by up to 50% for small and medium-sized companies and 25% for large businesses. This follows authorisation by the European Commission of a notified scheme. The loans themselves can only be granted by the national, regional or local authorities up to 31 December 2010 (although the subsidised rates may apply until 31 December 2012). The scheme will only apply to businesses that were not in financial difficulties prior to July 2008, in order to ensure that the scheme assists only those companies genuinely affected by the downturn. The investment must relate to products that respect the minimum environmental standards as defined in the Commission’s temporary framework for aid for green products.