In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission has issued, on March 23, 2022 a temporary crisis framework to EU Member States to give them flexibility to intervene in support of companies in compliance with State Aid Law (hereafter, the "Framework"). In doing so, it has followed an approach which, while it may be losing its originality due to repeated crises, has proved its worth. In the past, it has already adopted two similar frameworks: one in 2008 in relation to the financial crisis, the other in 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This approach is based on two ideas:
In the Framework, the European Commission, after recalling the "classic" aid measures that can be legally used by Member States, details four temporary measures that can be grouped into three categories:
This aid may, within certain limits, be cumulated with other aid measures (e.g. aid paid under the 2020 temporary framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic).
The beneficiaries of this aid are companies operating in the EU and affected by Russia's aggression against Ukraine and/or by the sanctions imposed or by the retaliatory countermeasures taken in response. In this respect, three clarifications in the Framework are worth highlighting:
The Framework is intended to apply until 31 December 2022, but its period of application could be extended depending on how the situation develops.
At the time of writing, no European Commission decision under the Framework has yet been made public. While Member States have very quickly and massively implemented the tools of the 2020 framework, they seem to be a little more wait-and-see today. However, it may be too early to jump to conclusion and predict that this Framework will be less successful with Member States as the 2020.
On its end, France has already announced a series of measures in favour of companies affected by the war.
For beneficiary and non-beneficiary companies alike, particular vigilance will be required as to the conformity of national aid measures in order to ensure, for the former, that the aid paid cannot be challenged in the future by the European Commission or by competitors, and for the latter, that the aid paid to their competitors does not create undue distortions of competition to their detriment.
 Within the EU, financial support from Member States to companies is strictly regulated by State Aid Law, which is based on a prohibition principle with various derogations. This unique system is based on an ex-ante control mechanism by the European Commission of State aid.