European Commission approves €500 million Greek scheme to support the self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €500 million Greek scheme to support self-employed individuals, including self-employed managers of small companies in sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 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: “The €500 million scheme we approved will support the Greek economy by assisting the self-employed and small family-owned businesses in maintaining activity during these difficult times. We will continue to work closely with Member States to find solutions to support the economy, in line with EU rules.”

The Greek support measures

Greece notified to the Commission under the Temporary Frameworka scheme to provide a one-off payment of €800 per self-employed person, including self-employed managers of companies that employ less than 20 employees in sectors severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure aims at partially compensating the eligible beneficiaries for the potential loss of income due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Commission found that the Greek scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the measure provides support similar to a wage subsidy that will partially compensate for the loss of income of self-employed individuals, including managers of small businesses, (ii) the aid is proportional as it is calculated with reference to the minimum national monthly wage in Greece, and (iii) the payment will be limited to the period 17 March – 30 April 2020.

The Commission concluded that the Greek 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 measures under EU State aid rules.