EU give small firm aid deal all clear

Aufzählung EU legislator allows Austrian proposal.
Aufzählung Firms must prove pre-crunch health.

Vienna.The European Commission (EC) yesterday announced it had approved a state assistance program for Austrian businesses hurt by the credit squeeze in 2009/2010.

EC Competition Comm- issioner Neelie Kroes said: “Such assistance will help Austrian firms overcome their financial difficulties caused by the ongoing cre- dit squeeze without doing much harm to economic competitiveness.”

The EC has put a limit of 500,000 Euros on the amount of state assistance that can be given to any one business and restricting it to firms that were not yet in financial difficulty as of 1 July 2008.

The assistance can take a number of forms, including subsidies, interest-rate red- uctions, public bonds and state guarantees. The mon- ey will come from the Austrian framework for ass- istance measures to combat the financial and economic crisis, which has reserves of 300 million Euros.

The money, however, is not supposed to go for employee ski events like the one Bank Austria’s owner UniCredit Group provided last week.

The Group spent 350,000 Euros on an employee ski event as it sought state aid for its Austrian subsidiary.

The Group rented a huge circus tent for the closing event. The tent covers an area the size of a football field, is over 20 metres high and will have taken a total of five weeks to put up and then disassemble again after the event.

UniCredit organisation chief Thomas Brugger ad- mitted the total cost of the tent would come to just over 350,000 Euros.

Brugger said: “We have always had a closing event lasting five-to-six hours. Since Schladming doesn’t have a hall seating 4,000 people, we had to resort to a tent.”

(source: http://www.wienerzeitung.at/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4082&Alias=wzo&cob=404519)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in the Employee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

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