State aid: Commission approves €10 million Belgian scheme to support social economy companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €10 million Belgian scheme to support social economy companies active in the Flemish Region affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework and is included in the national Recovery and Resilience Plan. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The public support will cover 80% of the accepted project costs, up to a maximum amount of €200,000 per project. The purpose of the measure is to support social economy companies to conceptualize, develop and roll out strategic business transformations in response to the new economic reality resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. The objective of these business transformations is to safeguard sustainable employment of disadvantaged groups in the social economy. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per beneficiary; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. 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 of 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 number SA.64072 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.