European Commission approves Portuguese state aid of 750 million euros for SMEs

In a statement, the community executive said that he gave the “green light” to a “Portuguese regime of 750 million euros to support micro, small and medium-sized companies active in sectors particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak”, such as commerce, restaurants, culture and accommodation.

The European Commission today approved a state aid from Portugal, of 750 million euros, for micro and small companies affected by the crisis of the covid-19, such as the restoration and trade, the already announced programs 'Support Restoration' and 'Support.PT' .

In a statement, the community executive said that he gave the “green light” to a “Portuguese regime of 750 million euros to support micro, small and medium-sized companies active in sectors particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak”, such as commerce, restaurants, culture and accommodation.

Noting that the programs 'Apoiar Restauração' and 'Apoiar.PT' are at stake, Brussels explains that this Portuguese public aid was approved under the Temporary State Aid Framework, as it is considered as “necessary, adequate and proportional to remedy a disturbance economy of a Member State ”.

In particular, this state aid from Portugal, in the form of direct grants, fulfills the European Commission's requirements for public support due to the covid-19 pandemic for not exceeding 800 thousand euros per company and for being granted before the deadline for these more flexible rules, explains the institution in the press release.

Within the scope of the 'Apoiar.pt' and 'Apoiar Restauração' programs, already announced by the Government, a global amount of 750 million euros is foreseen in non-repayable subsidies for micro and small companies in the sectors most affected by the crisis, as is the case of commerce, restaurants, culture, accommodation and tourist activities.

The measure covers companies with billing losses greater than 25% registered in the first nine months of 2020 and whose tax and contributory situation is regularized.

In the statement released by the European Commission, and based on the information given by the Portuguese authorities, it is stated that the 'Apoiar.PT' program will be “open to micro and small companies exclusively active in commerce and services open to consumers, cultural activities, activities tourism, hotel sector, and food and beverage service activities ”, while 'Support Restoration' is aimed at“ micro, small and medium-sized companies that develop food and beverage service activities ”.

Both programs can be cumulative, with 'Apoiar.PT' aiming to fill the corresponding 20% ​​of the turnover lost in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, with limits ranging from 7.500 to 40 thousand euros for micro and small companies, respectively.

'Apoiar Restauração' aims to cover the equivalent of 20% of the decrease in the daily billing of companies on the days when specific restrictions imposed by public authorities were applied, in comparison with the average billing during weekends in the first three 2020 quarters.

"The objective of the measures is to respond to the beneficiaries' liquidity needs and help them to continue their activities during and after the outbreak of the outbreak", the European Commission also observes, concluding that "the Portuguese regime is in compliance with the conditions established Temporary Board ”.

Adopted in mid-March, this temporary European framework for state aid extends the support that Member States can provide to their economies in times of crisis generated by the pandemic.

Initially, it was anticipated that these temporary rules would only be in force until December 31 of this year, but since the effects of the economic crisis persist in the EU, the European Commission decided to extend these deadlines and, thus, the temporary rules remain until June 2021.

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