The European Commission said on March 30 that it has approved the extension and modification of a Bulgarian wage-support program under the EU state aid temporary framework to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure is aimed at providing wage support for employers and income support for self-employed people in several sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic – transport, hotels, restaurants and travel agencies, the Commission said.

Under this scheme, companies and self-employed individuals would receive a monthly subsidy of 290 leva a month for each job preserved. The Commission initially approved the measure in July 2020.

The duration of the scheme is extended until December 2021 and its budget is increased from 40 million leva to 150 million leva.

The Commission said that it also approved “extending the scope of the eligible beneficiaries, employees and self-employed persons for which aid may be granted,” as well as other “technical modifications” of the scheme.

In a statement, the EC said that the modified measure was in line with the conditions set out in its state aid temporary framework and concluded that it “remains necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.