(Bloomberg) — French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he has asked the European Union to bring forward state aid rule changes to allow the government to support companies hit the hardest by surging energy prices this winter.
Caps on grants for struggling businesses, currently set at 25 million euros ($24.8 million) or 50 million euros, are due to be revised in January. Le Maire said the level must be doubled by the end of October at the latest.
“There are firms that face an absolute emergency,” Le Maire said on France 2 television on Wednesday, citing aluminum and glass makers. “We must win this battle because the survival of companies that are strategic for France is at stake.”
Le Maire said he made the request to European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday and that progress was being made, adding that certain companies risked collapse if they had to wait until January for support.