The European Commission has approved an approximately €22 million (CZK 600 million) Czech aid scheme to support companies active in the organisation of fairs, exhibitions, conferences and business events, which have been severely affected in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The aim of the scheme is to mitigate the economic difficulties and the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing as a result of the suspension or reduction of their business activity due to the outbreak and the related measures to limit the spread of the virus. The public support will take the form of direct grants compensating the beneficiaries for the uncovered fixed costs incurred by during the period from March to October 2020. Eligible companies must have sustained a turnover decline of at least 30% in that period, compared to before the coronavirus outbreak. The companies will be entitled to receive support amounting to 60% of their fixed costs if they are privately owned, or to 40% of their fixed costs if they are owned by the state or a municipality. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €10 million per beneficiary; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 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. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.59401 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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