State aid: Commission approves €34 million Czech scheme to support cultural events’ operators affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission approved a €34 million (CZK 900 million) Czech scheme to support operators, who had to cancel or postpone their cultural event(s) due to the restrictive measure that Czechia had to implement to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants and will cover up to 50% of the eligible expenses, i.e. the expenses incurred by the operator to organise the event that was ultimately postponed or cancelled. In order to be eligible for support under the scheme, the relevant expenses must have been incurred between 1 October 2019 and 17 May 2020 for events which were to take place between 10 March 2020 and 31 August 2020. The purpose of the measure is to facilitate access to external financing by the beneficiaries and to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Czech measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support per company will not exceed €800,000; and (ii) aid under the measure can only be granted until 31 December 2020. 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 of 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.58213 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.