We hope the mentioned good practice case will encourage other governments and policymakers to do the same in their respective countries. Exhibitions and trade shows are the fastest of fast-tracks to economic recovery once the coronavirus crisis has passed and will deliver the best return on investment now. We sincerely thank UFI, EEIA, and EMECA for providing valuable information.
CASE STUDY: HUNGARY
Hungary was one of the most aiding countries when it came to the meetings and exhibitions industry. Their financial aid helped the industry persevere.
On 9 June 2020, a HUF 54 billion (approximately €155 million) “umbrella” scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak was announced. The measure allowed the Hungarian authorities to grant aid under certain existing schemes in the form of direct grants to cover investments by companies aiming at preserving jobs or creating new job opportunities. The aim of the “umbrella” scheme is to help companies address the liquidity shortages they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
On 22 June 2020, the modification of a previously approved Hungarian scheme to support the Hungarian economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak was announced to be in line with EU State aid rules, in particular with the State aid Temporary Framework. The existing scheme was approved on 20 May 2020 under case number SA.57269. Hungary notified the following modifications to this scheme: (i) an increase in the estimated total budget of the scheme, from HUF 57 billion (approximately €156 million) to HUF 103 billion (approximately €288.3 million); and (ii) the extension of the initial scheme to new capital funds (“Hiventures” and “Crisis Funds”). It is estimated that between 240 and 420 companies will benefit from the modification of the existing scheme.
Measures related to public guarantees:
On 7 May 2020, a €1.55 billion (approximately HUF 550 billion) Hungarian aid scheme was launched to support the Hungarian economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020. The scheme consists of two complementary measures that will be managed and implemented by two separate entities: (i) The semi State-owned Garantiqa Credit Guarantee Company Ltd. will provide guarantees on loans up to a maximum of €14 million (approximately HUF 5 billion) per company; (ii) The State-owned MFB Ltd. (Hungarian Development Bank) will provide guarantees for loans in excess of that amount up to a maximum of €28 million (approximately HUF 10 billion) per company. Under the scheme, the public support provided by Garantiqa will take the form of State guarantees on new and existing investment and working capital loans. The support provided by the Hungarian Development Bank will take the form of State guarantees on new investment and working capital loans. The guarantees will be channelled through credit institutions. The scheme will be open to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies.
On 10 December, the Commission approved a €132.5 million Hungarian aid scheme to support the catering, culture, sports and accommodation sectors, which have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the scheme aims to alleviate employer’s costs and avoid lay-offs, as well as to mitigate the liquidity shortages the beneficiaries are facing, and ensure the continuity of economic activity during and after the outbreak. The public support for the catering, culture and sports sectors is granted as wage subsidies, consisting of exemptions from fiscal obligations born by the employers, and direct grants amounting to 50% of the employees’ gross salary.
Measures related to public guarantees, loans, tax deferrals:
On 23 November, a €145 million Hungarian scheme to provide liquidity and capital support to companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak was launched. Under the state aid Temporary Framework, the support is to take the form of subordinated loans, recapitalisations and convertible loans. The scheme is managed by two state funds, and recapitalisation is a mandatory component of aid, possible to combine with debt and/or other instruments.