The European Commission has approved a €5 million Portuguese credit line scheme to support SMEs active in Madeira in the agricultural and agri-food sectors, which have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will take the form of subsided interest rates, will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the agricultural and agri-food sectors in the autonomous region of Madeira. The scheme aims at helping the beneficiaries address the liquidity shortages they have suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak. The credit line will anticipate to producers and companies active in the agricultural and agri-food sectors in Madeira the support provided for in POSEI, the EU’s support programme for outermost regions facing specific challenges due to remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography or climate. The Commission found that the Portuguese scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the loan contracts will have to be signed by 31 December 2020 and will have a maturity period of one year, and (ii) the total amount of the loan granted per company shall not exceed 25% of its total turnover in 2019 or twice the annual wage bill in 2019. 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 measures 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.58423 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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