The European Commission has approved a €21 million Belgian scheme to support the production of coronavirus-relevant medical products, equipment, technologies and raw materials in the Flemish region. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020 and 8 May 2020. The public support will take the form of direct grants and will be open to all companies active in the Flemish region, except for financial institutions. The aim of the scheme is to incentivise companies to direct their activities to the production of certain products that are crucial to tackle the current health crisis, including vaccines and treatments, medical equipment and devices, disinfectants, data collection and processing instruments. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular: (i) the measure will have an incentive effect i.e. companies would not carry out the investment in the absence of the aid; (ii) the support will cover up to all investment costs necessary for the production and all costs related to trial runs; and (iii) the scheme will not be accessible to companies that were already in difficulty on 31 December 2019. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to fight the 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.57605 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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