Covid-19: European Commission approves 79M euro Bulgarian state aid scheme

The European Commission said on January 20 that it has approved Bulgaria’s 79 million euro scheme to support micro-, small and medium enterprises affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The programme was approved under the EU’s state aid temporary framework put in place last year to allow the bloc’s member states to counter the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the scheme targets companies “in certain sectors” that had to suspend or limit operations due to government restrictions meant to limit the spread of the virus.

The funding will take the form of grants, which will cover part a firm’s lost turnover if they shut down operations because of anti-epidemic restrictions.

Depending on the sector they operate in, the companies will receive 10 per cent or 20 per cent of their turnover, but no more than 150 000 leva, or about 76 700 euro.

The Commission said that it found the Bulgarian scheme to be in line with the conditions set out in the temporary framework because it did not exceed the cap on financing set out in the framework and because the time frame of the scheme was set to end before June 30.

Separately, Bulgaria’s National Revenue Agency said on January 20 that more than 6000 companies have applied for grants worth a total 89 million leva under the scheme.

The agency said that it received the European Commission’s approval late on January 19 and payments were set to begin next week, with 30 million leva expected to disbursed by January 28.

So far, the agency has processed about 80 per cent of all applications, with provisional approval granted to more than 3200 companies, worth 36 million leva.

(European Commission headquarters Berlaymont building. Photo: JLogan)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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