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EU approves 1 bln euros Hungarian scheme to support companies facing increased energy costs

The European Commission has approved a 1 billion euro Hungarian scheme to support companies facing increased energy costs 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 accelerating the green transition and reducing fuel dependencies.

The scheme consists of aid for additional costs due to exceptional energy price increases and will take the form of loans and guarantees.

The measure will be open to companies of all sizes and sectors, with the exception of the financial sector as well as sectors which are considered to be potentially harmful to the environment. The purpose of the measure is to cover part of the increased costs of natural gas and electricity as well as of heating and cooling directly produced from the latter.

“This 1 billion euro measure will enable Hungary to mitigate the impact of the rising electricity and natural gas costs on its economy while ensuring that distortions of competition are kept to a minimum,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy.

In particular, the overall aid per beneficiary will not exceed 50 per cent of the eligible costs, up to a maximum of 4 million euros. The beneficiaries may receive further aid, not exceeding 40 per cent of the eligible costs and up to a maximum of 100 million euros. Energy-intensive companies may receive aid up to 65 per cent of the eligible costs for the maximum aid ceiling of 50 million euros. Furthermore, those energy-intensive companies that are active in particularly affected sectors, will be entitled to receive aid up to 80 per cent of the eligible costs for the maximum aid ceiling of 150 million euros. The aid will be granted before 31 December 2023.

The Commission concluded that the Hungarian scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.

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