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The European Commission has approved a €6.2 billion Italian scheme to support small businesses and self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework.

The Italian support measure.    Italy notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a €6.2 billion scheme to support small businesses and self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme is open to small businesses and self-employed active in all sectors, except the financial sector and the public administration.

The amount of individual aid will be calculated as a percentage of the difference between the turnover recorded by eligible beneficiaries in April 2020 compared to turnover in April 2019 (at a minimum of €1,000 for natural persons and €2,000 for companies).

The scheme aims at easing liquidity constraints that companies and self-employed are experiencing due to the negative consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, thus helping them continue their activities.The measure is expected to support 2.6 million small businesses and self-employed.

The Commission found that the Italian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid amount per company 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 sectors as provided by the Temporary Framework, (ii) the aid is granted to micro and small enterprises and only to larger companies, which were not already in difficulty on 31 December 2019,(iii) the aid is limited in time and will only be granted until 31 December 2020.

The Commission therefore concluded that the Italian measure isnecessary, 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.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules.