State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Dutch scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a Dutch scheme, with an estimated budget of €1.4 billion, to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020. The public support will take the form of direct grants of up to €50,000 per company. The scheme will be open to SMEs active in all sectors, with some exceptions defined by the Netherlands, namely companies active in the primary production of agricultural products, in the processing and marketing of agriculture products as well as in the fishery and aquaculture sector will not be eligible for aid under this scheme. The measure is expected to benefit 200,000 companies. The purpose of the scheme is to address the liquidity needs of companies affected by the current crisis and to help them to continue their activities, start investments and maintain employment during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Dutch scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid will not exceed €800,000 per company. 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, the 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.57712 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.