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State aid: EU Commission approves €38 million Swedish scheme to compensate damages caused by cancelled or postponed cultural events due to coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a SEK 420 million (approximately €38 million) Swedish scheme that compensates companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak for the loss of revenue or additional costs related to the cancellation or postponement of cultural events.

Under the scheme, those operators will be entitled to compensation for the damages suffered, in the form of direct grants covering 75% of their loss of revenue or additional costs up to SEK 1 million (approx. €90,600), and 50% for the part of the losses above SEK 1 million.

Aid may be granted up to a maximum amount of SEK 10 million (approx. €906,000) per beneficiary. The compensation provided under the scheme is foreseen for events scheduled between 12 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 that had to be cancelled or postponed.

The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (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 exceptional occurrences.

The Commission found that the Swedish aid scheme will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the foreseen compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The culture sector is also one of the sectors hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak. This €38 million Swedish scheme enables Sweden to compensate businesses active in the organisation of cultural events for the damages suffered in these difficult circumstances.

We will continue to cooperate closely with Member States to find solutions to help companies get through these difficult times, in line with EU State aid rules.” The full press release is available online.

Arianna Podesta –