State aid: Commission approves €8.8 million Estonian scheme to support organisers of cultural events in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €8.8 million Estonian scheme to support organisers of cultural events in the context of 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 of up to €150,000 per company to cover the costs related to their activities that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak as well as other costs incurred to ensure the continuation of their operations. The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Estonian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed the maximum amount per company provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) the aid 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.62815 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.