The European Union has approved a € 50 Million italian aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices, such as ventilators, and personal protection equipment, such as masks, goglees, gowns and safety suits.
The scheme, that will help Italy provide the necessary medical treatment to those infected, while protecting healthcare operators and citizens, aims at increasing the market output of such instruments, which has proven to be insufficient as a result of the peak in demand arising from the Coronavirus outbreak.
Under the scheme, financial support will be available to companies of all sizes which:
- set up new facilities for the production of medical devices and personal protection equipment
- expand the production of their existing structures producing such equipment
- convert their production line to that effect.
The beneficiaries of the support will make the products available to the Italian authorities at the market prices applied in December 2019, i.e. prior to the outbreak in Italy
The aid will take the form of direct grants or repayable advances then converted into direct grants, if the beneficiaries supply the equipment and devices in an expedited manner to the Italian authorities
The scheme will ensure swift and adequate support to companies ready to produce and supply medical devices and personal protection equipment and will incentivise rapid production and timely delivery of these essential products
So, the Italian measures have been considered in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework for aid in the form of direct grants and repayable advances that it provides five types of aid, which can be granted by Member States:
- Direct grants, selective tax advantages and advance payments
- State guarantees for loan taken by companies from banks
- Subsidised public loans to companies
- Safeguards for banks that channel State aid to the real economy
- short-term export credit insurance
The temporary framework complements the many other possibilities already available to Member States to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU State aid rules and will be in place until the end of December 2020, with a view to be extended
Vice President, in charge of competition policy, said:
These are very difficult times, especially in Italy. We have to do what we can to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on human lives and livelihoods. The Italian scheme approved today, shortly after the adoption of our new State aid Temporary Framework, will support companies ready to produce and supply medical equipment and masks. These are needed urgently. We will continue to work with Member States to ensure timely, coordinated and effective action