The European Commission said on Thursday that it has approved Bulgaria's 1.5 million euro ($1.8 million) scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the oil-bearing rose growing industry in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme aims at mitigating the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak and to the restrictive measures that the Bulgarian government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus," the Commission said in a statement.
The Commission found that the Bulgarian scheme is in line with the EU rules. "In particular, the aid will not exceed 225,000 euro per beneficiary and will be granted no later than 31 December 2021," it noted. The Commission also said that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of the member state.
The eligible beneficiaries will be compensated for losses incurred between March 2020 and December 2021, with up to approximately 50 euro per hectare of roses. The measure is expected to benefit between 500 and 1,000 local farming companies, the EU executive body said in the statement.