State aid: The Commission approves €38 million Czech scheme to support health SPA facilities affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found a CZK 1 billion (€38 million) Czech scheme to support providers of SPA medical procedures and curative rehabilitation treatments that were impacted by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules. The public support will take the form of direct payments to cover discounts applied by the beneficiaries to all consumers from the European Economic Area that reserve a minimum package of overnight stays and spa rehabilitation treatments at their facilities. The measure aims at mitigating the liquidity shortages that these businesses experienced due to the measures that Czechia had to implement to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, and in particular Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures implemented by Member States to remedy a serious disturbance in their economy. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the principles set out in the EU Treaty and the general principles of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (ii) the amount of aid per company will not exceed €800,000 and (ii) aid under the scheme will only be granted until the end of the year. The Commission concluded that the scheme notified by Czechia 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 general principles set out in the State aid 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.58018 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.