State aid: Commission approves €35 million Belgian scheme to support potato and ornamental plant growers active in the Flemish region affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €35 million Belgian scheme to support companies active in the potato and floricultural primary production sectors in the Flemish region that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. Of the total budget of €35 million, €10 million are earmarked to support potato growers, and €25 million to support ornamental plant growers. The measure aims to address the liquidity needs of these companies and help them to continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The scheme is expected to benefit approximately 1,450 small and medium-sized enterprises, of which about 650 active in the potato sector and 800 in the floricultural sector. The Commission found that the Belgian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the grants will not exceed €100,000 per beneficiary. 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 measures 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.58014 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.