The European Commission has approved a €1.9 billion (PLN 8.6 billion) Polish scheme to support companies operating in certain sectors affected by the coronavirus-outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Companies active in sectors such as tourism, entertainment and sport have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. This Polish scheme will facilitate access to liquidity for companies operating in these sectors in these difficult times and will help ensure the continuity of their economic activity. We continue to work in close cooperation with Member States to find workable solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU rules”.
The Polish measure
Poland notified to the Commission, under the State aid Temporary Framework, a scheme that will provide support to companies of all sizes operating in several sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including gastronomy, fitness, fairs, stage, film, entertainment and recreation, photography and physiotherapy. These companies could not provide services due to the measures introduced by the Polish government to limit the spread of the virus, or had to bear costs related to sanitary restrictions resulting in a decrease in attendance.
Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants and exemptions from payment of contributions:
Aid in the form of grants will be available to companies that declare a decrease: (i) in revenues in October or in November 2020 by at least 40% compared to revenues in the same period of 2019; (ii) in income in one of the three months preceding the application for aid by at least 40% compared to the income obtained in the previous month or in the same month of the previous year.
Aid in the form of exemptions from payment of contributions (e.g. social or health insurance contributions) for the period from 1 to 30 November 2020 will be available to companies that declare a decrease in revenues in November 2020 of at least 40% in comparison to revenues in November 2019.
The Commission found that the scheme notified by Poland is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €800,000 per company; (ii) will be granted no later than 30 June 2021; (iii) will not be granted to enterprises that were already in difficulty on 31 December 2019 (with the exception of micro and small enterprises if, at the moment of granting the aid, they are not subject to collective insolvency procedure under national law and have not received rescue aid or restructuring aid).
The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.
On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU State aid rules.