State aid: EU Commission approves €120 million Finnish scheme to compensate companies in the restaurant industry for damages caused by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a €120 million Finnish scheme that compensates companies operating restaurants, bars or cafes for the loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the national measures taken to limit the spread of the virus.

Under the scheme, these companies will be entitled to compensation for the damages suffered in the form of direct grants covering 15% of their loss of revenue up to €1 million, and 5% for the part of their losses above €1 million, during the two-month period of lockdown in Finland.

Aid may be granted up to a maximum amount of €500 000 per beneficiary. To ensure that no beneficiary is overcompensated, a control mechanism guarantees that the Finnish authorities recover any compensation exceeding the net losses of each beneficiary.

The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b)of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate specific companies or specific sectors for the damages directly caused by exceptional occurrences.

The Commission found that the Finnish aid scheme will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the envisaged 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.

Arianna Podesta –