State aid: Commission approves €358 million Romanian scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises active in sectors particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved a €358 million (1.772 billion RON) Romanian scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’) affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that the Romanian government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The public support was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants for investments in productive activities, up to a maximum amount of €1 million (4934.3 RON) per beneficiary. The scheme will be open to SMEs active in sectors particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak, such as processing industry, construction, wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, transport and storage. In order to be eligible, companies must have been established in Romania by 31 December 2018 and must have recorded operating profits over 2019. The scheme is expected to benefit 4,000 companies. The Commission found that the Romanian 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 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.100195 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.