EC approves 150M euro Bulgarian scheme to support SMEs affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission said that it has approved a 150 million euro (about 294 million leva) Bulgarian scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on March 19 2020, as amended on April 3.

A statement by the European Commission said that Bulgaria had notified the Commission under the Temporary Framework of a state aid scheme with an estimated budget of 150 million euro to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of equity and quasi-equity investments.

The scheme, which will be open to SMEs active in all sectors with certain exceptions defined by Bulgaria, aims at enhancing access to liquidity by those companies, which are most severely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, thus helping them to continue their activities, start investments and maintain employment, the EC statement said.

The Commission found that the Bulgarian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

In particular, the support will not exceed 800 000 euro per company as provided by the Temporary Framework, equity and quasi-equity will be granted only to solvent companies, and aid can be granted until December 31 2020.

The Commission concluded that the Bulgarian 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.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This 150 million euro scheme will enable Bulgaria to support SMEs in the form of equity and quasi-equity investments of up to 800 000 euro per company.

“This will help businesses meet their liquidity needs in these difficult times. In close cooperation with member states, we find workable solutions to tackle the economic effects of the outbreak in line with EU rules,” Vestager said.


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The Sofia Globe staff

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