Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May, 2022 at 2:26 pm by Andre Camilleri
The European Commission has approved a €30 million Maltese scheme to support companies active in the importation, manufacturing and wholesale of grains and other similar products in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The scheme, which goes under the name “MDB Subsidised Loan Scheme”, was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022, recognising that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This €30 million scheme will enable Malta to mitigate the economic impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine and to support companies active in the importation of grains and other similar products affected by the current geopolitical crisis. We continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. At the same time, we continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, while protecting the level playing field in the Single Market.”
The Maltese measure
Malta notified to the Commission under the Temporary Crisis Framework a €30 million scheme to support companies of all sizes active in the importation, manufacturing and wholesale of grains and other similar products in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Under this measure, the aid will take the form of subsidised loans.
The measure will be open to companies of all sizes active in Malta in the importation, manufacturing and wholesale of grains and other similar products that are affected by the current geopolitical crisis and the related sanctions.
The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, (i) the maturity of the loan is limited to 2 years; (ii) the annual interest rates on the loans respect the minimum levels set out in the Temporary Framework; and (iii) the loan contracts will be signed by 31 December 2022.
The Commission concluded that the Maltese scheme 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 Crisis Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU State aid rules.
The PN had highlighted last March that wheat prices were expected to rise drastically, pressuring for something to be done about the situation. Opposition Leader Bernard Grech had, at the time, suggested fixing the price of bread temporarily.