State aid: Commission approves modified €5.7 billion Greek repayable advances scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found the modification of the existing Greek repayable advances scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the Temporary Framework. The original scheme was approved by the Commission on 7 April 2020 under case number SA.56815. The Commission approved amendments to the scheme on 31 July 2020 (SA.58047) and on 27 November 2020 (SA.59069). Greece notified the following further modifications to the scheme: (i) an extension of the period in relation to which the aid may be granted to September and October 2020; (ii) a change in the eligibility conditions of beneficiaries, i.e. companies with a reduction of turnover of at least 20%  in those months (the previous threshold was 10%) or whose activity was suspended because of the outbreak; (iii) a possibility of 50% partial repayment of the aid on condition of maintaining the level of employment until March 2021 (before the amount of aid to be repaid was higher); and (iv) an increase in the estimated total budget of the scheme by €2.2 billion, which means an increase in total budget from €3.5 billion to €5.7 billion. 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. In particular, the support will continue not to exceed €100 000 per company active in the primary agricultural production, €120 000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €800 000 per company active in all other sectors. 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 numbers SA.59900 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.