State aid: Commission approves €110 million Czech scheme to support enterprises active in primary agricultural sector and food production in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a CZK 3 billion (approximately €110 million) Czech scheme to support enterprises active in the primary agricultural sector and in food production affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will be open to all enterprises active in the primary agricultural production sector (farmers) and to food producers. The aid is specifically intended to ensure sufficient working capital for beneficiaries, which suffered a decrease in total earnings of at least 25%, compared to the same period in 2019. The purpose of the scheme is to help the beneficiaries address their liquidity needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The measure is expected to benefit between 5,000 and 10,000 beneficiaries. The Commission found that the Czech scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will not exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural sector or €800,000 per company active in food production as provided by the Temporary Framework, and (ii) the aid under the scheme can be granted until 30 June 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 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.59336 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.