Last week, the European Commission (EC) approved, under the EC Treaty state aid rules, two Austrian schemes to “boost the real economy” and combat the “current credit squeeze.”

Under the first scheme, the Austrian government may grant aid “of up to €500,000 per firm" in 2009 and 2010. The second scheme is a framework measure which will temporarily modify the existing risk capital investment scheme to allow “an increase of the maximum investment tranches from €1.5 million to €2.5 million in small- and medium-sized businesses over each 12 month period until 31st December 2010.” The Austrian government expects “that around €25 million will be disbursed on the basis of these modifications in 2009 and 2010, to facilitate access to risk capital.”