State aid: Commission approves a €50 million Belgian scheme for companies active in the events sector in Flanders and affected by the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €50 million scheme to support companies active in the Flemish events sector that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020. The objective of the scheme is to provide the necessary financing and insurance to companies active in the Flemish events sector in order to fund the restart of their activities, thereby enabling them to organize an event, to make investments, and to place orders. The support will take the form of repayable advances of a minimum amount of €25,000 and a maximum amount of €800,000, calculated as a maximum of 60% of the total costs of the event, as budgeted in the company’s business plan. The repayable advance will have to be reimbursed if the event actually takes place.  Conversely, the repayable advance will not have to be reimbursed if the event is cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak or of related measures adopted by the competent authorities. The Commission found that the Belgian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular: (i) the repayable advances do not exceed the maximum ceiling of €800,000 per company; (ii) the aid measure is limited in time until 31 December 2020; (iii) medium and large enterprises that were in difficulty on 31 December 2019 are excluded as beneficiaries; and (iv) the measure will respect the rules on cumulation with other types of aid. The Commission concluded that the 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, Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58081 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.