EU exec clears temporary Spain plan for green cars

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A plan by Spain to grant interest rate subsidies for green cars has won approval from the European Commission, the European Union executive said on Monday.

“This (measure) will allow important investments for the future low carbon economy which could have been put on hold due to the financial and economic crisis,” Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

Under the temporary scheme, Spanish authorities may provide subsidized loans until the end of 2009 with a maximum term of two years to the car and car component industry for investments in products that meet EU environmental product standards.

Last month, the Spanish government approved a 4 billion euro ($5.3 billion) package to support its auto industry after layoffs and stoppages at plants. The Commission had already said this scheme and another car aid plan from Italy did not breach EU state aid or internal-market rules.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Dale Hudson