State aid: Commission approves modification of Bulgarian scheme to support employment in sectors most affected by the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found the modification to an existing Bulgarian scheme to provide wage support for employers and wage equivalent income support to self-employed in sectors most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, such as transport, hotels, restaurants and travel agencies to be in line with the State aid Temporary Framework. The existing scheme was approved by the Commission on 14 July 2020 under case number SA.57759 and was first prolonged on 18 December 2020 (SA.60082). Bulgaria notified to the Commission the following modifications to the scheme: (i) the prolongation of the duration of the scheme until December 2021; (ii) the increase of the budget from BGN 40 million (approximately €20.5 million) to BGN 150 million (approximately €76.7 million); (iii) other amendments extending the scope of the eligible beneficiaries, employees and self-employed persons for which aid may be granted, as well as (iv) technical modifications. 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 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.61348 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.