Commission approves €750 million Italian State aid scheme to support companies in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine

The European Commission has approved a €750 million Italian scheme to support small and medium-sized companies (“SMEs”) and mid-caps companies 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 and amended on 20 November 2023, to support measures in sectors which are key to accelerate the green transition and reduce fuel dependencies.

Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of State guarantees to support SMEs and mid-cap companies affected by the energy crisis. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that beneficiaries have access to sufficient financial liquidity. A similar scheme was approved by the Commission on 29 July 2022 (SA.103403), including its prolongation on 20 December 2022 ( SA.105124), which expired on 31 December 2023.   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 guarantee (i) will not exceed €280,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products, €335,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sectors and €2 million per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) will be granted no later than 30 June 2024. The Commission concluded that the Italian 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 scheme under EU State aid rules.