The European Commission has approved a €380 million Italian investment support scheme towards a sustainable recovery of the economy in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework and will be co-financed by the European Structural and Investments Funds (‘ESI Funds’). Under the scheme, the aid may be granted in different forms, namely direct grants, subsidised interest rates on loans, soft loans, guarantees, repayable advances, equity and bonds. The scheme is aimed at supporting private investments in tangible and intangible assets as a stimulus to overcome an investment gap accumulated in the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic and at accelerating the green and digital transitions. The measure will be open to companies active in all sectors, except the financial one. The aid scheme is expected to benefit about 5,000 companies. The Commission found that the Italian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular: the aid (i) will not exceed 1% of the total budget of the scheme per beneficiary; (ii) will benefit investments in tangible and intangible assets but not financial investments; (iii) will not exceed the maximum aid intensities set out in the Temporary Framework; and (iv) will be granted no later than 31 December 2022. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to facilitate the development of certain economic activities, which are of importance for a sustainable recovery of the economy, in line with Article 107(3)(c) TFEU. 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.103540 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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