23 August 2020
By Elaine Murphy
The European Commission this week approved a €26 million Irish scheme to support companies in the tourism and hospitality sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants to cover the costs of adapting businesses to the requirements for re-opening set out in the guidelines adopted by Ireland. The aim of the measure is to help those companies address the sudden liquidity shortages they are facing and to support them in the implementation of the necessary measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said she welcomes this move by the European Commission which will help to ensure that small and family run businesses in tourism are supported during this difficult time. MEP Clune highlighted this issue recently during a debate at the European Parliament on the future of tourism in Europe and what Europe can do to help tourism businesses.
MEP Clune said:
“I very much welcome this news that additional funding has been approved to help support businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector. We need to ensure small businesses get the support they need to survive at this time. They need these measures to enable them to grow and develop their businesses. I recently called on the European Commission to ensure that small and medium businesses are not forgotten when it comes to support measures. Small and medium businesses are vital to our national and local economy in Ireland.”
Tourism businesses need to be especially supported at this time, according to MEP Clune who said “tourism has now changed”.
“Tourism in this country is going to be very different as we move forward and it has changed, perhaps for a long time yet to come. We will be looking at more outdoor based tourism businesses and activities and we must ensure that support measures are in place to let those businesses thrive,”
added MEP Clune.
The Commission found that the Irish measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €800,000 per company as provided by the Temporary Framework and (ii) aid under the measure will be granted no later than 31 December 2020. The Commission concluded that the measure is 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, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.