European Commission approves €25 million Belgian aid scheme to support coronavirus related research and development activities in Wallonia

The European Commission has approved a €25 million Belgian aid scheme to support coronavirus related research and development (R&D) in Wallonia.The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This €25 million Belgian scheme will support research and development activities needed for finding solutions to address the current health crisis due to the coronavirus outbreak. We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”

The Walloon support measures

Belgium notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a €25 million scheme to support coronavirus related R&D activities in Wallonia. The public support will take the form of direct grants and repayable advances. The scheme is open to all companies active in Wallonia that are capable of carrying out R&D projects relevant to the coronavirus outbreak.

The aim of the scheme is to find solutions to respond to the current health crisis, among others via diagnostic solutions and the development and validation of treatments and vaccines.

The Commission found that this scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid will cover 80% of the relevant R&D costs for SMEs, and 60% for large enterprises. Furthermore, under the scheme, any results of the research activities will be made available to third parties in the European Economic Area through non-exclusive licences.

The Commission concluded that the aid scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to fight the health crisis, in line with Article 107(3)(c) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.

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