EU Commission eases rules for small, medium-sized firms to get state-backed financing

BRUSSELS – The European Commission is making it easier for small- and medium-sized companies to get state-backed financing, an effort to get credit flowing again and help the economic recovery.

The Commission, the 28-nation bloc’s executive arm, said Wednesday its guidelines for state aid rules will be eased from July 1 by allowing governments to further team up with banks.

Funding for many European small- and medium-sized companies dried up in the wake of the financial crisis as banks focused on replenishing their coffers and worried about the economic outlook.

The Commission says that between 10 and 60 per cent of a state-backed loan would have to come from a private sector lender to make sure such aid attracts, rather than replaces, private funding.