State aid: Commission approves amended €3 billion Dutch scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found the modifications to an existing Dutch scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the State aid Temporary Framework. The Commission approved, under the State aid Temporary Framework, the original scheme on 26 June 2020 (SA.57712) and its subsequent modifications on 20 November 2020 (SA.59535) and 9 February 2021 (SA.60166). The Netherlands notified some further modifications to one of the measures included in the scheme, namely the measure originally addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lost at least 30% of their turnover in the period from January to March 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Following the amendment, the measure will (i) be extended to large enterprises and (ii) its overall budget will increase of around €2 billion (the original budget of that sub-measure was estimated at €970 million). In particular, the beneficiaries will be eligible to receive support ranging from a minimum of €1500 to a maximum of €600,000 for large enterprises and €550,000 for SMEs. The amended scheme also provides that additional aid can be granted to companies active in the non-food retail, travel and agricultural sectors. The Commission found that the Dutch scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products, €270,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €1.8 million per company active in other sectors as provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) the aid will be granted before 31 December 2021. The Commission 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, Commission approved the measures 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.62241 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.