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State aid: EU Commission approves €40 million Finnish direct grant schemes to support companies in the agriculture and fishery sectors affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved two Finnish schemes, with a total budget of €40 million, to support the agricultural and fishery sectors in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The schemes were approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020.

The support takes the form of direct grants and the schemes have an estimated total budget of €40 million (€30 million for agriculture and €10 million for fishery and aquaculture). The aim of the schemes is to help these businesses cope with the liquidity problems brought about by the coronavirus outbreak by covering part of their salary, rent and other vital operating expenses necessary to continue their activities.

The Commission found that the Finnish measures are in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. The Commission concluded that the measures are 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 the scheme under EU State aid rules.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The €40 million direct grant schemes will support Finnish companies active in primary agriculture and the fishery sector, and will help them continue their activities in these difficult times by covering part of the operating expenses such as salaries and rent.

We continue to work in close cooperation with Member States to find workable solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU rules.”

Arianna Podesta –