State aid: Commission approves €143 million Hungarian scheme to support research and development and production of coronavirus-relevant products

The European Commission has approved a HUF 50 billion (approximately €143 million) Hungarian aid scheme to support investments in research and development (R&D) and production of products relevant to the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will be open to all companies that are able to engage in the research and development and/or production of the relevant products irrespective of their sector of activity, will take the form of direct grants. The aim of the scheme is to enhance and accelerate the development and the production of coronavirus-relevant products, including vaccines, hospital and medical equipment, medicines, and the development of innovative processes for their efficient production. The Commission found that the Hungarian scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will cover a significant share of the necessary R&D and investment costs (ii) there will be a “bonus” (in terms of additional share of the costs that can be covered by the State aid) for R&D projects that are supported by more than one Member State, or for projects that are carried out in cross-border collaboration with research organisations or other companies; (iii) 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; and (iv) if investments receiving aid under the scheme are not completed within six months, the grant will have to be progressively reimbursed. 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.58202 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.