State aid: Commission approves €51 million Bulgarian wage compensation scheme to support companies and self-employed persons affected by the coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved a €51 million (BGN 100 million) Bulgarian wage compensation scheme to support companies and self-employed persons active in sectors particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that the Bulgarian government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of a compensation partially covering the loss of income suffered by the employees and self-employed persons at a rate of 75% of their social insurance income. The public support aims at avoiding lay-offs and at helping the beneficiaries resume their activities. The Commission found that the Bulgarian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the public support will assist businesses that are particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak and is aimed at avoiding layoffs; (ii) the monthly wage compensation will not exceed 80% of the monthly gross salary of the benefitting personnel or the income of self-employed persons; and (iii) the 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 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.100320 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.