EU approves German coronavirus state aid scheme

FILE PHOTO: Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, leave at the end of a news conference on the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 15, 2020. Olivier Matthys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it had approved the German government’s 12-billion-euro scheme to compensate companies for damages incurred due to coronavirus lockdowns last year.

The Commission, which monitors to ensure that governments do not unfairly help companies for competitive advantage, said in a statement the German scheme was a “proportionate” response and in line with EU state aid rules.

The scheme entitles companies from all sectors to compensation for damages incurred during lockdowns imposed in Germany to contain the coronavirus pandemic in March-April and November-December last year.

The aid comprises grants covering up to 100% of the damage suffered during the lockdowns, or 75% of a company’s turnover in November and December 2019.

The European Union’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said the measures would complement German state aid schemes, already approved by the EU, offering support of up to 4 million euros per company.

Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Alexandra Hudson