European Commission approves €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak

European Commission approves €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme to support the Italian economy 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 and 8 May 2020, EU News reports.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme will enable support to companies of all sizes by Italy's regions, the autonomous provinces, other territorial bodies and Chambers of commerce. Complementing several already approved national measures, this scheme will support Italian businesses in continuing their operations in these difficult times and help preserve jobs. We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules."

Italy notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a €9 billion “umbrella” scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the scheme, the Italian Regions and Autonomous Provinces, other territorial bodies as well as Chambers of commerce, will be able to provide support to companies of all sizes, including self-employed, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies.

Under the scheme, public support can be granted through:

Direct grants, guarantees on loans and subsidised interest rates for loans.

Aid for coronavirus-related research and development (R&D), for the construction and upscaling of facilities to develop and test coronavirus-relevant products, and for the production of coronavirus-related products, such as vaccines, medical products, treatments and devices, disinfectants and protective clothing, active pharmaceutical ingredients and active substances used for disinfectants.

Wage subsidies for employees to avoid lay-offs during the coronavirus outbreak.

This scheme aims at supporting companies that face difficulties due to loss of income and liquidity shortages resulting from the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. In particular, it will help businesses cover immediate working capital or investment needs. This scheme will also support and promote research and production of coronavirus-related products and will help employees to avoid lay-offs in these difficult times.