State aid: Commission approves €20 million Latvian measure to support shopping centres in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €20 million Latvian measure to support owners of shopping centres in Latvia, in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants to shopping centre owners that have experienced a fall in rental turnover of the shopping centre concerned of at least 30% in at least one of the following periods: (i) December 2020 and January, February and March 2021 compared with these same months in 2019 and 2020, or in 2018 and 2019, (ii) January and February 2021 compared with November and December 2020, or (iii) January, February, March and April 2021 compared with September, October, November and December 2020. Beneficiaries will be granted €15 per square metre of the shopping centre, excluding parking areas. The aid granted under the measure aims at covering costs related to the use of the building from 1 December 2020 to 31 December 2021. The Commission found that the Latvian measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €1.8 million per company and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 30 September 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.62916 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.