State-aid rules relaxed for COVID-19

Jul 06, 2020

The European Commission recently relaxed the definition of “undertakings under difficulty” and job loss as an aid clawback trigger in its General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER).  The Commission also extended the life of current rules for State-aid, including the GBER, which were due to expire at the end of this year.  These measures impact Ireland’s Employment Investment Incentive (EII) scheme, the Start-up Capital Incentive (SCI) and the Start-Up Relief for Entrepreneurs (SURE) which are all subject to the GBER.  

Recognising that the scheduled change of State-aid rules including the GBER on 31 December 2020 would bring another element of disruption to businesses across the EU,  the Commission has extended the life of these rules for one to three years depending on the particular rule.  The GBER will continue until 2023.   

Certain definitions used in the State-aid rules have also been amended to take account of the economic impact of COVID-19.  The definition of “undertaking in difficulty” is relaxed.  This definition features as part of the GBER which impact’s Ireland’s EIIS, SCI and SURE.   See the Commission’s press release for more details.