European Commission approves €75.5 million Estonian schemes in the form of direct grants and payment advantages to support companies in coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved eight Estonian State aid schemes in the form of direct grants and payment advantages to provide liquidity to companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The schemes were 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: “The eight Estonian aid schemes will enable the provision of €75.5 million in direct grants and payment advantages to companies affected by the pandemic. They will help to provide liquidity and support the viability of companies across different sectors in these difficult times. Our work with Member States continues and ensures that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”
The Estonian support measures
Estonia notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework eight support schemes, with a total estimated budget of €75.5 million, to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Under the schemes, public support will be provided as follows:
(i) €10 million in the form of direct grants to support small companies that seek to transform their products, services, processes and business model in order to support their viability;
(ii) €14 million in the form of direct grants to companies that invest in development projects to support their viability;
(iii)€5 million in the form of direct grants to companies in the tourism sector that seek to restructure their activities, to develop new products and/or services, or to change their business model as a result of the outbreak;
(iv) €25 million in the form of direct grants to companies in the tourism sector in order to mitigate coronavirus related damage;
(v) €20 million in the form of direct grants to companies and organisations active in the culture and sports sectors affected by the coronavirus;
(vi) €250,000 in the form of payment advantages to companies supplying products or services to the City of Tallinn;
(vii) €250,000 in the form of a waiver of penalties to companies that failed to fulfil in due time orders from the City of Tallinn; and
(viii) €1 million in the form of reduced rent leases and usage fees to lessees of municipal property of the City of Tallinn.
The Commission found that the Estonian schemes are in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support will not exceed €800,000 per company and it will be limited to €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products and €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, as foreseen by the Temporary Framework.
The Commission therefore concluded that the measures are 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.