State aid: Commission approves €6 million Latvian scheme to support companies in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €6 million Latvian scheme to support companies active in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme, which will be managed by Altum, a state-owned development finance institution, will be open to companies that organise public art, entertainment and recreational events on a regular basis and whose operations have been affected by restrictive measures that the Latvian government had to introduce to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The support will take the form of direct grants and loans for a maximum of €300,000 for the organisation of one event (for all beneficiaries). The overall support per beneficiary under the scheme cannot, in any event, exceed €900,000. The grants are intended to compensate the costs related to the implementation of an event, including its preparation, and the remuneration of performers, as well as the cost of equipment and technical support. The loans are intended to support companies’ working capital, in order to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their financial situation. The Commission found that the Latvian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed the limits per beneficiary provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) 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.62003 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.