State aid: Commission approves €3.2 million Latvian scheme to support media companies in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €3.2 million Latvian scheme to support media companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak and by the restrictive measures that the Latvian government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme will be open to 74 media companies registered in Latvia, including national, regional or local mass media outlets producing editorially independent journalistic content. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of direct grants. The measure aims to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to the significant decrease in demand for advertising in media outlets, and will compensate them for part of the decrease in revenues that they suffered between November 2020 and March 2021.  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 €1.8 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. More information on the 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.63031 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.