State aid: Commission approves €80 million Slovak scheme to support research, development and testing infrastructure for coronavirus relevant products

The European Commission has approved a €80 million Slovak scheme to support industrial research and experimental development projects, as well as testing and upscaling infrastructures related to the production of coronavirus relevant products.The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will be co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds. It will take the form of direct grants and will be open to companies of all sizes, except financial institutions. The aim of the scheme is to enhance and accelerate the development and the production of products directly relevant to the coronavirus outbreak, including vaccines, hospital and medical equipment, medicinal products and protective equipment. The Commission found that the Slovak scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will cover a significant share of the costs of the eligible research and development (R&D) and investment projects; (ii) any result of the research activities will be made available, upon request, to third parties within the European Economic Area, through non-exclusive licences and under market conditions; and (iii) there will be a “bonus” (in terms of additional share of the costs that can be covered by the State aid) for R&D projects for industrial research and experimental development that are supported by more than one Member State, or for projects that are carried out in cross-border collaboration with research organisations or other companies. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to fight the public health crisis, in line with Article 107(3)(c) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures 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.57829 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.