State aid: Commission approves €10 million Estonian scheme to support research and development of coronavirus-relevant products

The European Commission has approved a €10 million Estonian scheme to support research and development (R&D) into products relevant to the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which may be granted until 31 December 2021, will take the form of direct grants of between €20,000 and €500,000 per beneficiary, and will be open to companies of all sizes, active in specific sectors and carrying out coronavirus-related experimental development activities. The aim of the scheme is to support coronavirus-relevant and other antiviral-relevant experimental development projects. This includes research into vaccines, medicines, medical devices, hospital and medical equipment, disinfectants, and protective clothing and equipment, as well as the development of innovative processes for their efficient production. The Commission found that the Estonian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will cover between 40% and 60% of the relevant experimental development costs incurred by the beneficiary; and (ii) any results 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 Estonian measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to fight the public health crisis, in line with Article 107(3)(c) 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 number SA.62513 in State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.