State aid: Commission approves €200 million Slovenian scheme to compensate large companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €200 million Slovenian scheme to compensate large companies for the damages suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and the confinement measures that the Slovenian Government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. Under the scheme, companies will be entitled to compensation of the damages incurred between 13 March and 31 May 2020, in the form of direct grants and exemptions from payment of social security contributions. The compensation will cover up to 100% of the difference between the operating results of the company concerned during the compensation period and its operating results in a reference period before the coronavirus outbreak. The Slovenian authorities will carry out ex post checks based on the damage assessment by the potential beneficiaries to ensure that the compensation does not exceed the actual damage suffered. The public support in excess of the actual damage received by the beneficiaries will have to be paid back to the Slovenian State. The scheme will be open to large companies active in all sectors, with some exceptions defined by Slovenia, namely companies active in the financial and insurance sectors. The measure is expected to benefit around 50 companies. Large companies can benefit from aid under the scheme if they prove the damage suffered and its direct causal link with the coronavirus outbreak and the related measures adopted by Slovenian authorities.The Commission found that the Slovenian scheme is in line with Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid granted by Member States to compensate specific companies or specific sectors  for the damages directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Slovenian scheme will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the envisaged compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57459 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.