The European Commission has approved an approximately €94.6 million (PLN 427.8 million) Polish scheme to support non-governmental organisations (NGOs), other entities engaged in public benefit work and religious legal entities affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme will be open to all such entities, to the extent they are engaged in economic activities and therefore qualify as undertakings under EU State aid rules (public support to entities that are not engaged in economic activities falls outside the scope of State aid control). The scheme consists of two measures. Under a first measure, the support will take the form of a low-interest loan of up to approximately €1,100 (PLN 5,000), covering the running costs of NGOs or other entities engaged in public benefit work, which conducted business activities before 1 April 2020. Under a second measure, the support will take the form of a wage subsidy and will cover part of remuneration and social security contributions of religious entities. The aid may not exceed 70% of the wage cost (including social security contributions) of individual employees covered by the application for support. The aim of the scheme is to address the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries and to help them continue their activity during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Polish scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will not exceed €225,000 per undertaking active in the primary production of agricultural products, €270,000 per undertaking active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €1.8 million per company active in all other sectors; (ii) aid under the scheme can be granted until 31 December 2021. The Commission therefore 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.61173 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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