State aid: Commission approves €67.5 million Maltese scheme to support SMEs affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €67.5 million Maltese scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of State guarantees on loans for a nominal value of up to €250,000 per company. The purpose of the scheme is to provide access to working capital to those SMEs that are facing sudden liquidity shortages due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the amount of aid will not exceed €800,000 per company (€100,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products; €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector) as provided by the Temporary Framework. 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.57961 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.