The European Commission has approved an approximately €150 million Italian scheme to support small and medium-sized companies (“SMEs”) in the region of Calabria in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework, adopted by the Commission on 9 March 2023 to support measures in sectors which are key to accelerate the green transition and reduce fuel dependencies. The new Framework amends and prolongs in part the Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted on 23 March 2022 to enable Member States to support the economy in the context of the current geopolitical crisis, already amended on 20 July 2022 and on 28 October 2022.
Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to SMEs in the region of Calabria active in all sectors, except for the primary production of agricultural products, fishery and aquaculture. The purpose of the scheme is to support the eligible beneficiaries that are at risk of losing financial liquidity due to the increased costs of natural gas and electricity caused by the current geopolitical crisis.
The Commission found that the Italian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €2 million per beneficiary; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2023. The Commission concluded that the scheme 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 Crisis and Transition Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.
More information on the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine and foster the transition towards a net-zero economy can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.108803 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.