State aid: Commission approves €305 million Czech scheme to support self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved an around €305 million (CZK 8 billion) Czech scheme to support self-employed that have been particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will be open to self-employed active in all sectors except the financial one, will take the form of waivers of payments and penalties and deferrals of payments of mandatory monthly health insurance contributions for the period from March to August 2020 (which means payments due in the period from April to September 2020). The aim of the scheme is to address the liquidity needs of the self-employed in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Czech scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, for waivers of payments or penalties, (i) the amount of aid will not exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products, €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €800,000 per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) the scheme is limited in time until 31 December 2020. As regards the temporary deferral of payments of public health insurance contributions, they will be granted until 31 December 2020 and the end date for the deferral will be no later than 31 December 2022. 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.57358 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.