The European Commission announced this week that it had approved the umbrella measures taken in Gibraltar to support business and employment during and after the coronavirus pandemic, a move which was welcomed by the Gibraltar government.
The Gibraltar authorities were required to notify the Commission of the details of the scheme under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and the Commission found the measures to be compatible with the TFEU under the terms of the Temporary Framework which it has adopted to facilitate the clearance of State Aid measures for the purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The amount involved is an estimate of the cost of the measures to be adopted. It includes the £ 24 million guarantee taken by the Government to Parliament recently. It is not, the authorities have stressed, a grant of £100 million awarded by the EU to Gibraltar.
Member States of the European Union have taken emergency measures to assist businesses as a result of COVID-19, and although Gibraltar left the European Union alongside the UK at the end of January, it is currently in the transition period which will continue to the end of this year so is being treated in the same way as an EU member state for this purpose, something the Commission stressed in its report.
The Commission said that after analysing the Gibraltar measures it found they are "necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy".
The chief minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, said after receiving the notification earlier this week: "The approval of these measures is an important underpinning of the work done in Gibraltar to secure our businesses and their employees in this difficult period. The work we have done now enjoys the approval of the EU Commission."
He went on to thank "everyone in the office of the Financial Secretary, particularly Mr Albert Mena, and the teams working with us round the clock on these issues for helping us to deliver this important and very positive result."