MADRID — The European Commission on Tuesday authorized an aid package worth 800 million euros, or $1.1 billion at current exchange, for Spain’s beleaguered textile and clothing sectors.
Prime targets for the public funds program include promotion of technical research and exports, training and the maintaining of older workers in current jobs.
“After an in-depth investigation, the commission is satisfied that the Spanish textile program does not unduly distort competition in the single market,” said European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes.
The commission, which opened its Spain investigation in November 2007, found the sector’s measures to be in keeping with state aid rules that allow financial support for certain country’s economic development activities.
The EU’s assistance package for Spain’s textile sector is the first to be authorized in Europe during the economic downturn and comes as countries including France, the U.K., Germany and the Scandinavian nations examine financial aid to beleaguered industries, especially autos but including other industrial sectors as well as the financial one. The U.S. government also is pumping billions into struggling industries, particularly banks and auto companies.