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State aid: EU Commission approves €50 million Italian subsidised loans scheme to support agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors affected by coronavirus outbreak in Friuli Venezia Giulia region

The European Commission has approved a €50 million Italian scheme to support the agricultural, forestry and fishery sectors in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020.

Under the scheme, support will be granted in the form of loans with favourable interest rates channelled through financial institutions, and in the form of direct grants. The aim of the scheme is to help businesses in these sectors cope with the liquidity issues brought about by the coronavirus crisis by giving them access to the financial means they need to cover their immediate working capital and investment needs, thus ensuring the continuation of their activities.

The Commission found that the Italian regional scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. 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 the measure under EU State aid rules.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Even in the current situation where essential measures have been put in place to protect our healthcare during the coronavirus outbreak, buying food is a fundamental need of citizens. This Italian regional scheme will enable the provision of loans for all businesses active in the agricultural, forestry and fishery sectors in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

The measure will help companies cover their immediate liquidity needs and continue their crucial activities in the food chain during these difficult times.”

Arianna Podesta –