State aid: Commission approves €40 million Croatian guarantee scheme to support SMEs active in the field of culture and creative industries affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved an approximately €40 million (HRK 300 million ) Croatian scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the cultural sector and the creative industry which were among the  most affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The ban on gathering and cancelling cultural events, closing theatres, cinemas and concert halls has had significant economic effects on entrepreneurs, independent artists and others active in the culture sector. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020. The support will take the form of public guarantees on loans  with a nominal loan amount of up to maximum €800,000. The State guarantee will cover 100% of the loan. The scheme aims at providing liquidity to SMEs affected by the coronavirus outbreak, thus enabling them to continue their activities, start investments and maintain employment. Companies active in the cultural sector and the creative industry are eligible for aid under this scheme. The measure is expected to support up to 1,000 enterprises. The Commission found that the Croatian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, aid does not exceed €800,000 per company. 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. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57595 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.