European Commission approves €4 million Belgian scheme to support coronavirus related research and development projects
The European Commission has approved a €4 million Belgian direct grant scheme for the Brussels-Capital region to support coronavirus related research and development (R&D) projects in the Brussels-Capital region. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This €4 million Belgian scheme will provide incentives to companies to direct their activities to research and production of certain products, like vaccines, drugs or disinfectants, or treatments, which are most crucial in the current circumstances. Our work with Member States continues and ensures that national support measures can be put in place in a coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”
The Belgian support measures
Belgium notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a €4 million aid scheme to support coronavirus related R&D projects in the Brussels-Capital region. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be accessible to small, medium-sized and large enterprises from all sectors, capable to carry out such activities, which have at least one place of business in the Brussels-Capital region.
The aim of the scheme is to support the development of innovative solutions to the coronavirus pandemic, such as vaccines, drugs and treatments, medical devices, hospital and medical products and equipment, including ventilators, protective clothing, diagnostic tools and disinfectants.
The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the scheme covers industrial research and experimental development projects and supports 80% of the eligible costs for the duration of the project. Furthermore, undertakings are encouraged to cooperate with each other or with research organisations by benefitting from a 15% bonus when the R&D research project is carried out in cross-border collaboration with research organisations or other undertakings, or when the research project is supported by more than one Member State.
The Commission therefore 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 measures under EU State aid rules.