State aid: Commission approves two Swedish schemes to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak and related restrictive measures implemented to limit its spread

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, two Swedish schemes to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak and related restrictive measures implemented to limit the spread of the coronavirus in May, June and July 2020. The first scheme, approved on the basis of Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), is a prolongation, for the month of May, of an existing scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak initially approved by the Commission in June 2020 (SA. 57372). The prolongation of the scheme will be funded within the same initially approved budget of approximately €3.7 billion (SEK 39 billion). The measure will support companies that have experienced a decline in total net turnover of at least 60% in the month of May compared to the total net turnover for the same month in 2019 (in the initial scheme the decline in turnover had to be of at least 30%). The second scheme, with an estimated budget of approximately €239 million (SEK 2,5 billion), will be open to Swedish companies that could resume their operations in June and July 2020 but still had to face a turnover decline due to the economic situation and general safety and health measures limiting customer access. This second scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The purpose of this measure is to facilitate access to finance by the beneficiaries and to mitigate the liquidity shortages that they are still facing as a result of the current crisis. Under both schemes, the support will take the form of direct grants to cover part of the beneficiaries’ fixed costs. The Commission found that the first scheme is in line with with Article 107(2)(b) TFEU, which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate specific companies or specific sectors (in the form of schemes) for the damages directly caused by restrictive measures taken by governments due to exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The second scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €800,000 per company, and (ii) will be granted before 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 both measures 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 versions of the decisions will be made available under the case numbers SA.58631 and SA.58822 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.