The European Commission has approved a €10 million Estonian scheme to support industrial research and experimental development by companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as well as coronavirus-related research and development (R&D). The scheme will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme is composed of two sub-measures: (i) aid designed to remedy a serious disturbance in the Estonian economy and to support beneficiaries facing liquidity shortages, thereby preserving their capabilities to conduct industrial research or experimental development projects; and (ii) aid for coronavirus-relevant R&D. Under both sub-measures, the public support will take the form of direct grants. The Commission found that the Estonian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, with respect to the first sub-measure, the total aid received by beneficiaries will not exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products, €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €800,000 per company active in all other sectors. With respect to the second sub-measure, (i) the aid will cover a significant share of the necessary R&D and investment costs; and (ii) any result of the research activities will be made available to third parties in the European Economic Area at non-discriminatory market conditions through non-exclusive licences. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, and to fight the public health crisis, in line with Articles 107(3)(b) and 107(3) (c) TFEU, and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. 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.59278 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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