State aid: Commission approves increase in budget to €213 million for Italian scheme to support trade fairs sector affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found the modification of an existing Italian scheme to support the uncovered fixed costs of companies active in the trade fairs sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the State aid Temporary Framework. The existing scheme was approved by the Commission on 16 March 2021 (SA.61294) under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the support takes the form of direct grants to limited liability companies managing trade fairs areas and trade fairs event organisers that, due to the coronavirus outbreak, have experienced a decrease in turnover of at least 30% between March 2020 and February 2021, compared to the same reference period in 2019. Italy notified an increase in the estimated budget of the scheme, from €63 million to €213 million. The Commission found that the amended scheme remains in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €10 million per beneficiary; and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the scheme, as modified, remains 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 action the Commission has taken 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 case number SA.62504 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.