The European Commission has approved a €750 million Portuguese scheme to support micro, small and medium companies active in sectors particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. It will be available under two different measures: i) ‘Apoiar.PT’, which will be open to micro and small companies exclusively active in commerce and services open to consumers, cultural activities, touristic activities, the hospitality sector, and food and beverage service activities; and ii) ‘Apoiar Restauração’, which will be open to micro, small and medium companies carrying out food and beverage service activities. The aid under the ‘Apoiar.PT’ measure corresponds to 20% of the lost turnover in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, with caps ranging from €7,500 to €40,000 for micro and small companies respectively. The aid under the ‘Apoiar Restauração’ measure can be cumulated with aid under the ‘Apoiar.PT’. The aid corresponds to 20% of the decrease in the daily billing of the companies in those days where specific restrictions imposed by public authorities applied, compared to the average billing during weekends in the first three quarters of 2020. The aim of the measures is to address the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and to help them continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Portuguese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed the €800,000 per company; and (ii) will be granted before 30 June 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.59450 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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