The Commission has approved an extension of State aid originally granted in 1993 for a funding scheme set up for Berlin-based SMEs engaged in research and development activities. The scheme in question is designed to make it easier for SMEs to undertake research and to strengthen their competitive position, given the particular financial difficulties encountered by Berlin-based SMEs. Without this aid, the SMEs would be unable to undertake research activities to a sufficiently useful level. The scheme offers grants and/or loans for development projects which create or improve products, processes or services which are beneficial to the environment or which take the form of pilot projects. The cost of participation at commercial fairs may also be funded. The total amount of aid available amounts to nearly ECU 35 million for 1994-1996. Subject to a maximum of ECU 200,000 per project, grants of up to 35% of project costs may be made, or up to 40% for SMEs based in East Berlin, while loans may cover up to 50% of total costs.