The European Commission has found the modifications to an existing Dutch scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the state aid Temporary Framework. The Commission approved, under the state aid Temporary Framework, the original scheme on 26 June 2020 (SA.57712) and its subsequent modifications on 20 November 2020 (SA.59535) and 9 February 2021 (SA.60166). The Netherlands notified some further modifications to one of the measures included in the scheme, namely the measure originally addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lost at least 30% of their turnover in the period from January to March 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. Following the amendment, the measure will (i) be extended to large enterprises and (ii) its overall budget will increase of around €2 billion (the original budget of that sub-measure was estimated at €970 million).
In particular, the beneficiaries will be eligible to receive support ranging from a minimum of €1500 to a maximum of €600,000 for large enterprises and €550,000 for SMEs. The amended scheme also provides that additional aid can be granted to companies active in the non-food retail, travel and agricultural sectors. The Commission found that the Dutch scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €225,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products, €270,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €1.8 million per company active in other sectors as provided by the Temporary Framework; and (ii) the aid will be granted before 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measures are necessary, 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, Commission approved the measures under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.62241 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
Therapeutics Strategy - First rolling review of a new COVID-19 medicine
The European Medicines Agency has today (7 May) started the rolling review of sotrovimab (VIR-7831), a monoclonal antibody developed for the treatment of COVID-19. The review follows hot on the heels of the EU COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy presented yesterday and is a first step towards the Strategy's target of starting seven rolling reviews of COVID-19 therapeutics in 2021. The rolling review launched by EMA will assess sotrovimab's effectiveness in preventing hospitalization and death; safety and quality. A rolling review is quicker than a regular evaluation as data is reviewed as it comes in. Should the European Medicines Agency recommend authorising the treatment at the end of its review, the European Commission will move swiftly to authorize it.
The EU Therapeutics Strategy supports the development and availability of much needed COVID-19 therapeutics and covers the lifecycle of medicines: from research, development and manufacturing to procurement and deployment. It is part of the strong European Health Union, in which all EU countries prepare and respond together to health crises and ensure the availability of affordable and innovative medical supplies – including the therapeutics needed to treat COVID-19. More details on the EU Therapeutics Strategy are available in a press release and factsheet.
Kazakhstan to deliver humanitarian assistance to India
Kazakhstan will provide humanitarian assistance to India due to the sharp deterioration of the epidemiological situation in this country, reported the Akorda Press, writes Zhanna Shayakhmetova.
This was announced at the meeting of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Prime Minister Askar Mamin on May 7.
President Tokayev instructed the government to dispatch 6 million medical masks, 400,000 respirators, 50,000 anti-plague suits, and 105 portable artificial lung ventilation devices made in Kazakhstan.
India observed a record daily rise in coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing total new cases for the week to 1.57 million, according to Reuters.
India is now the second most corona-affected country with the overall cases standing at 21.49 million.
On May 4, Tokayev delivered a message to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express “deep solidarity with the Indian nation over the devastating COVID-19 surge in their country.”
The President noted that Kazakhstan is ready “to unite efforts with our Indian friends to contain the spread of the pandemic and provide every possible assistance in the spirit of enduring friendship and mutual support between our states.”
Earlier, it was reported that Kazakhstan will provide humanitarian aid that consists of 10,000 tons of flour to Kyrgyzstan.
“Guided by the principles of friendship, alliance and strategic partnership with Kyrgyzstan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev decided to provide humanitarian assistance to the fraternal Kyrgyz people on behalf of the Kazakh people,” President’s spokesperson Berik Uali wrote on his Facebook on May 6.
India: EU mobilizes an initial €2.2 million in emergency funding for the vulnerable during COVID-19
The Commission has announced that it will allocate an initial €2.2 million in emergency funding to respond to the drastic surge in COVID-19 cases in India. The funding will support the World Health Organization (WHO) for a 6-month case management of COVID-19 patients, as well as strengthening laboratory capacity for COVID-19 testing. Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “We are providing additional EU support towards the fight against COVID-19 in India. This comes on top of the generous and swift assistance from EU member states that stepped up as part of Team Europe to offer critical supplies of oxygen, ventilators and medicines over the last few days. We stand ready to work with the WHO and other partners on the ground to jointly fight this battle at this difficult time – we are stronger together.”
Member states have already mobilized supplies of urgently needed oxygen, ventilators and medicines from Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden to India over the last week via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
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