State aid: Commission approves amendment to Greek repayable advances scheme, including budget increase, to support companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found the modification of an existing Greek repayable advances scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the Temporary Framework. The Commission approved the original scheme in April 2020 (SA.56815) and its subsequent amendments in July 2020 (SA.58047), in November 2020 (SA.59069), and in December 2020 (SA.59900). Greece notified further modifications to the scheme, including notably: (i) an overall estimated budget increase by €1.5 billion; (ii) an extension of the period in relation to which the aid may be granted, introducing a new round of aid that covers the period from September to December 2020; (iii) a change in the eligibility conditions of beneficiaries, i.e. newly created companies that were severely affected by the restrictive measures implemented by the Greek authorities do not need to prove a decline in turnover of at least 20% in those months, if certain conditions are met; (iv) modifications of the rules for the calculation of the aid amounts and of the conditions for partial repayment of the aid. The Commission found that the Greek scheme, as amended, continue to be in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will continue not to exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary agricultural production, €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €800,000 per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the scheme, as modified, remains 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 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 numbers SA.62081 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.