State aid: Commission approves €63 million Italian aid scheme to support trade fairs sector affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €63 million Italian aid scheme to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies active in the trade fairs sector 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 aid will be granted to limited liability companies managing trade fairs areas and trade fairs event organisers that continue experiencing a drop in turnover of at least 30% because of the coronavirus outbreak between March 2020 and February 2021, compared to the same reference period in year 2019. The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the economic difficulties and the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing as a result of the suspension or reduction of their business activity due to the outbreak and the related measures to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €10 million per beneficiary; 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. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other action the Commission has taken 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 case number SA.61294 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.