EU approves €1.2bn business energy aid

Government grants for enterprises facing high costs clears regulatory hurdle

Businesses facing soaring energy bills will be able to seek aid under a €1.2 billion Government scheme after the EU approved the plan on Thursday.

The Government in Budget 2023 that it would provide €1.22 billion in grants for businesses paying at least 50 per cent more for electricity or gas compared to last year. The European Commission confirmed on Thursday that it has approved the scheme, which required its backing under state aid rules.

The move should pave the way for businesses to begin applying for grants under the programme.

Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance, said last month that he hoped enterprises could begin applying for aid under the programme once the EU approved the plan.

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The EU said that the Government scheme complied with conditions set out in its Temprorary Crisis Framework, meant to allow member states to deal with the fallout from the Ukraine war.

Energy inflation is one of the conflict’s most serious consequences for most Irish businesses, many of which are battling rising costs across all activities.

The commission concluded that “the Irish scheme is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state”.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas