State aid: Commission approves modified Italian “umbrella” scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found amendments to the existing Italian “umbrella” scheme to support companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the Temporary Framework. The original scheme was approved by the Commission on 21 May 2020 under case number SA.57021. Its subsequent amendments were approved by the Commission under case numbers  SA.58547SA.59655 and SA.59827. Italy notified the following modifications to the scheme: (i) the prolongation of the duration of the scheme until 31 December 2021; (ii) an increase of the budget of the scheme, by an additional €2.5 billion, from €10 billion to €12.5 billion; (iii) an increase of the ceilings for limited amounts of aid to €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products (previously €100,000); €270,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector (previously €120,000), and €1.8 million per company active in all other sectors (previously €800,000) in line with the latest amendment of the Temporary Framework; and (iv) an increase of the aid ceiling to support uncovered fixed costs, to €10 million per beneficiary (previously €3 million). 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) and Article 107(3)(c) 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.62495 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.