European Commission approves €108m Maltese support scheme under state aid rules

The approximately €108 million in rent and energy subsidies being offered to Maltese businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak have received the approval of the European Commission, which deemed them not to fall foul of state aid regulations.

The EU generally implements strict state aid rules to ensure that member states do not distort competition within the European single market. However, these rules have been temporarily loosened to help address the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Maltese scheme could see companies receive up to €7,500 to cover rental costs, and up to €7,500 to cover electricity bills, with the aim of addressing their liquidity needs and help them continue their activities and maintain employment.

The Commission ruled that the scheme was in line with the conditions set out in the temporary framework. In particular, it noted that the aid does not exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agricultural products, €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector and €800,000 per company active in all other sector.

It concluded that the measure was necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the Maltese economy, thus approving it under U state aid rules.