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Commission approves €150 million Italian scheme to support companies in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine

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The European Commission has approved a €150 million Italian scheme to support companies active in the region of Sicily in the context of Russia's war against Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework, adopted by the Commission on 9 March 2023 to support measures in sectors which are key to accelerate the green transition and reduce fuel dependencies. The new Framework amends and prolongs in part the Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted on 23 March 2022 to enable Member States to support the economy in the context of the current geopolitical crisis, already amended on 20 July 2022 and 28 October 2022.

Under the scheme, which goes under the name “Sicilian Energy Bonus”, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to companies active in Sicily in all sectors with a number of exceptions, such as primary agriculture, fishery and banking. The purpose of the scheme is to compensate eligible beneficiaries for part of the cost increase of gas and electricity incurred during 2022, compared to 2021, and to help them overcome their financial difficulties linked to the current crisis.

The Commission found that the Italian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €2 million per company; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2023. The Commission concluded that the scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a severe disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the scheme under EU state aid rules.

More information on the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of Russia's war against Ukraine and foster the transition towards a net-zero economy can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.107640 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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