State aid: Commission approves €97 million Czech scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

@European Union, 2018 Photo: Mauro Bottaro@European Union, 2018 Photo: Mauro Bottaro

The European Commission has approved an approximately €97 million (CZK 260 million) Czech scheme to support companies which have been particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will be open to companies of all size active in all sectors except the financial sector, will take the form of direct grants. The aim of the scheme is to help the beneficiaries address the liquidity shortages they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure will provide support for projects relating to (i) employee training, (ii) childcare facilities, rent for childcare facilities and upskilling of caregivers and (iii) wage subventions for jobs created for disadvantaged people and for jobs offered to previously unemployed people, in line with the objectives of the ‘Operational Programme Employment 2014-2020′. The Commission found that the Czech scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will not exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products, €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €800,000 per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) the scheme is limited in time until 31 December 2020. 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.58167 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.