The European Commission said it will gradually put an end to the temporary rules that allowed the 27 EU member countries to benefit from extra public support during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Since the very beginning of the pandemic, the State aid COVID Temporary Framework has enabled Member States to provide timely, targeted and proportionate support to businesses in need, while preserving the level playing field in the Single Market and maintaining horizontal conditions applicable to everyone.
"It has allowed Member States to act quickly and effectively to help companies hit by the crisis, while ensuring that support remained limited to those in actual need.
"As of today, the Commission adopted more than 1300 decisions in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, approving nearly 950 national measures for an estimate total State aid amount approved of nearly €3.2 trillion.
"All aid approved to date has been necessary and proportionate. Of course one thing is the amount of aid notified by Member States and approved by the Commission, and another thing is the aid actually spent.
"Based on data provided by Member States, in the period between mid-March 2020 and end of June 2021, of the over €3 trillion in aid approved during that period, around €730 billion euros was actually spent.
"The improving economic situation in view of the relaxation of restrictions is the main reason why we have decided not to prolong the State aid COVID Temporary Framework beyond 30 June 2022, with the exception of investment and solvency support measures, that will be in place until 31 December 2022 and 31 December 2023 respectively, as already provided for in the current rules.
"These two tools are indeed very important to kick-start the economy and crowd-in private investment for a faster, greener and more digital recovery and should therefore remain at the disposal of the Member States for longer than the other measures," Vestager said. ■