State aid: Commission approves €44 million Estonian scheme to support companies active in the tourism and retail sectors in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €44 million Estonian scheme to support companies active in the tourism and retail sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to operators active in the relevant sectors, including, among others, travel service providers, accommodation companies, SPA and water centers, trade fair organisers and retail companies that have suffered a significant loss of turnover due to the coronavirus outbreak. The purpose of the scheme is to help the beneficiaries address their liquidity needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Estonian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €1.8 million per company as provided by the Temporary Framework, and (ii) the aid 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 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.62825 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.