The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the granting of a state-aid to a cultural venue aiming to compensate for damages suffered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic (Harpa)

COVID-19 pandemic: ESA approves ISK 400m compensation to Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre*

The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved state aid for Harpa aiming to compensate for damages suffered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has had serious effects on the economy in Iceland. Large-scale events, international conferences and domestic corporate events have either been postponed, cancelled or replaced by virtual events. Cultural institutions and centres have struggled to maintain normal operations, having been intermittently closed or kept open within strict limitations since March 2020.

Harpa is a concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík and is operated by a company owned by the Icelandic government and the City of Reykjavík. Harpa hosts a number of cultural and musical events, as well as various conferences, in the heart of the Icelandic capital every year. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Harpa has been suffering economic losses as a direct consequence of COVID-19 and the containment measures put in place to slow down the spread of the virus.

The aid entails a direct grant amounting to ISK 400 million (EUR 2.58m) to compensate for damages suffered by Harpa in the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021. The aid is granted jointly by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the City of Reykjavík. In 2021, the Icelandic authorities will carry out an assessment of the actual damage suffered by Harpa due to COVID-19. As a consequence, should public support exceed the actual damage, the difference will be returned to the national and local authorities.

*This is the original title of the press release. The title above has been amended in order to match the e-Competitions format. Individual authors are welcome to provide original independent commentaries on the case law. Articles are subject to approval by the Board of e-Competitions Bulletin before publication based on the Editorial Policy (click here).

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EFTA Surveillance Authority, The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves the granting of a state-aid to a cultural venue aiming to compensate for damages suffered as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic (Harpa), 17 décembre 2020, e-Competitions December 2020 - II, Art. N° 98479

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