State aid: Commission approves €90 million Dutch scheme to support SMEs in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €90 million Dutch scheme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme will be open to SMEs that have registered in the Dutch Commercial Register between 1 October 2019 and 30 June 2020, active in all sectors, except the financial sector. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of direct grants of minimum €1,500 and maximum €124,999 to SMEs that have experienced a loss of turnover of at least 30% in January, February and March 2021, compared to the third quarter of 2020, and with fixed costs of at least €1,500 in the third quarter of 2020. The purpose of the scheme is to address the liquidity shortages that beneficiaries are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak, by contributing to the financing of their fixed costs. The Commission found that the Dutch measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products, €270,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €1.8 million per company active in all other sectors; 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 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.62867 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.