The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, two Italian schemes with a total budget of €63 million to support newspaper and periodicals publishers, as well as news publishers, radio and TV broadcasters and press agencies.
Both schemes are aimed at (i) supporting companies in the publishing sector that facing financial difficulties due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and (ii) protecting media pluralism.
Under the first scheme, with a budget of €28 million, the aid will take the form of direct grants to newspaper and periodicals publishers. The aid amount is based on the number of paper copies of newspaper and periodicals sold in 2021, with €0,05 per paper copy. Under the second scheme, with a budget of €35 million, the aid will take the form of direct grants to news publishers, radio and TV broadcasters and press agencies. This scheme will support investments by the eligible beneficiaries in digital transformation with up to 70% of the investment costs.
The Commission assessed both schemes under EU state aid rules, in particular Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which enables Member States to support the development of certain economic activities or areas. The Commission found that the measures are necessary and appropriate to achieve the objectives pursued, namely the development of the news media sector, wide access to newspapers and periodicals, and promotion of media pluralism. The Commission concluded that the measure is proportionate, i.e. limited to the minimum necessary, and will have a limited impact on competition and trade between member states. On this basis, the Commission approved the Italian schemes under EU state aid rules.
The non-confidential version of the decisions will be made available under the case numbers SA.106115 and SA.106114 in the state aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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