State aid: Commission approves €5.2 million Danish scheme to support local newspapers affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €5.2 million (approximately DKK 39 million) Danish scheme to support local weekly newspapers 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 local weekly newspapers registered with the Danish Press Council. The support will benefit 27 companies, representing approximately 130 local weekly newspapers, which were affected by the restrictive measures implemented by the Danish authorities to limit the spread of the coronavirus and which led to a significant decrease in demand for advertising in local weekly newspapers between December 2020 and March 2021. The aim of the scheme is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to these restrictive measures and to ensure continuity of their economic activity. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per beneficiary; and (ii) aid will be granted before 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 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.63029 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.