EU institution news

EU budget for recovery: rescEU – giving the EU direct crisis response tools | EU Commission Press

The Commission proposes today to give the European Union the tools to react more quickly when a serious cross-border emergency such as the coronavirus strikes and affects EU countries at the same time. To do so, rescEU – part of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism – will be significantly reinforced with €2 billion over 2021-2027 to create reserves of strategic equipment to cover health emergencies, forest fire outbreaks, chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear incidents or other major emergencies. As such, the total budget for the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism will top €3.1 billion. Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič,said: “When the coronavirus hit Europe, there was a lack of many kinds of medical equipment across Member States. Yet the EU did not have the power or the means to offer equipment; we could only encourage cooperation. Citizens expect the EU to act during a crisis. We all need to be better prepared and learn the lessons. rescEU will be massively strengthened to leave no EU country behind during a crisis.” Underthe Commission’s proposal, the EU will create a reserve of crisis response capacities, be able to directly procure equipment and fully finance the development and operational costs of rescEU capabilities. The Commission has also proposed a substantial boost of its global humanitarian budget by €5 billion, allocating in total €14.8 billion to better respond to growing needs worldwide in the next EU long term budget 2021-2027. For more information, see the Q&A, a Factsheet on rescEU, a Factsheet on Humanitarian Aid, as well as the press conference by Commissioner Lenarčič

The EU budget for recovery increases funds for a stronger Europe in the world | EU Commission Press

As part of the revised long-term EU budget 2021-2027 package, the European Commission has proposed a budget of €118.2 billion for external action, with an additional €15.5 billion to support its partners in recovery efforts in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, in line with the European Union’s role of a strong global actor.Another €1 billion is foreseen for the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) from the current EU budget for an immediate response to the crisis, rounding up the additional funds to €16.5 billion.Out of €118.2 billion (in 2018 prices, €132.6 billion in current prices), the main instrument, the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), will receive €86 billion (in 2018 prices, €96.4 billion in current prices), including €10.5 billion from the new European Recovery Instrument (‘Next Generation EU’). Humanitarian aid budget will increase by €5 billion thanks to this new instrument to €14.8 billion (€16.5 billion in current prices).When it comes to the Pre-Accession Assistance, the Commission is maintaining the amount of €12.9 billion (€14.5 billion in current prices) for the next Multiannual Financial Framework. The press conference by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell, Commissioners Várhelyi and Urpilainen is available on EbS. For more details, see a Q&A, a factsheet on the IPA and a Q&A on the European Peace Facility. All the legal texts related to the new MFF proposal are available here

Commission launches consultation to seek views on Digital Services Act package | EU Commission Press

Today the Commission has launched a public consultation on the Digital Services Act, a landmark package announced by President von der Leyen in her political guidelines and in the Commission’s Communication “Shaping Europe’s Digital Future” of 19 February. The consultation seeks to gather views, evidence and data from people, businesses, online platforms, academics, civil society and all interested parties to help us shaping the future rulebook for digital services. The consultation, open until 8 September, covers issues such as safety online, freedom of expression, fairness and a level-playing field in the digital economy.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “The Internet presents citizens and businesses with great opportunities, which they balance against risks that come with working and interacting online. At this time, we are asking for the views of interested citizens and stakeholders on how to make a modern regulatory framework for digital services and online platforms in the EU. Many of these questions impact the day-to-day lives of citizens and we are committing to build a safe and innovative digital future with purpose for them.”

Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “Online platforms have taken a central role in our life, our economy and our democracy. With such a role comes greater responsibility, but this can happen only against the backdrop of a modern rulebook for digital services. Today we launch our public consultation: we will listen to all views and reflect together to find the right balance between a safe Internet for all, protecting freedom of expression and ensuring space to innovate in the EU single market.”

The current regulatory framework for digital services dates back twenty years. It helped the growth of European digital services but it does not give answers to many of today’s pressing questions on the role and responsibility of online platforms, especially the largest ones.

Europe needs a modernised regulatory framework to reduce the ever increasing regulatory fragmentation across Member States, to better ensure that everyone across Europe is protected online as they are offline and to offer to all European businesses a level playing field to innovate, grow and compete globally. Users’ safety as well as the respect of their fundamental rights, in particular their freedom of expression, must be systematically guaranteed.

The consultation covers the two work strands announced by the Commission as part of the Digital Services Act package:

The first set of rules would relate to the fundamentals of the e-commerce directive, in particular the freedom to provide digital services across the EU single market in accordance with the rules of the place of establishment and a broad limitation of liability for content created by users. Building on these principles, we aim to establish clearer and modern rules concerning the role and obligations of online intermediaries, including non-EU ones active in the EU, as well as a more effective governance system to ensure that such rules are correctly enforced across the EU single Market while guaranteeing the respect of fundamental rights.

The second measure would address the issue of the level playing field in European digital markets, where currently a few large online platforms act as gatekeepers. We will explore rules to address these market imbalances, to ensure that consumers have the widest choice and that the EU single market for digital services remains competitive and open to innovation. This could be through additional general rules for all platforms of a certain scale, such as rules on self-preferencing, and/or through tailored regulatory obligations for specific gatekeepers, such as non-personal data access obligations, specific requirements regarding personal data portability, or interoperability requirements.

In addition, the Commission is also taking the opportunity to consult on other emerging issues related to online platforms, such as the opportunities and challenges that self-employed people face in providing services through online platforms.

In parallel, a second consultation is launched today on a possible new competition tool; more information is available in a separate press release.

Next steps 

The Commission is consulting the general public, digital service providers including online platforms, businesses who reach their consumers online, authorities, NGOs, academics and other concerned parties. Respondents are invited to submit their responses by 8 September 2020 in all official EU languages.The consultation will inform the Commission’s proposals for the Digital Services Act package, expected to be released at the end of the year.

Background

The legal framework for digital services has remained unchanged since the adoption of the e-Commerce Directive in 2000, which harmonised the basic principles allowing the cross-border provision of services and has been a foundational cornerstone for regulating digital services in the EU.

The Commission has also set out general guidelines to online platforms and Member States for tackling illegal content online through aCommunication in 2017 and a Recommendation in 2018. The Commission continues to lead targeted actions in coordinating the cooperation between online platforms, authorities and trusted organisations in areas such as combatting illegal hate speech online, or ensuring that products reaching European consumers in the single market are safe. In addition, sector-specific legislation has been adopted (in particular in the field of audiovisual and media services and copyright) or proposed (as regards terrorist content online).

The adoption of the Platform-to-Business Regulation, due to enter into force in July this year, sets the basic horizontal foundation for a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for smaller businesses and traders on online platforms.

For more information

Digital Services Act webpage

Digital Services Act public consultation

Inception Impact Assessments on e-Commerce aspects

Inception Impact Assessment on ex-ante tools

New Competition Tool press release

New Competition Tool public consultation

New Competition Tool Inception Impact Assessment

Political guidelines of President von der Leyen

Communication on Shaping Europe’s Digital Future

Brochure – How do online platforms shape our lives and businesses?

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool | EU Commission Press

The European Commission has published today an inception impact assessment as well as an open public consultation inviting comments on exploring the need for a possible new competition tool that would allow addressing structural competition problems in a timely and effective manner. Stakeholders can submit their views on the inception impact assessment until 30 June 2020 and respond to the open public consultation until 8 September 2020.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The world is changing fast and it is important that the competition rules are fit for that change. Our rules have an inbuilt flexibility which allows us to deal with a broad range of anti-competitive conduct across markets. We see, however, that there are certain structural risks for competition, such as tipping markets, which are not addressed by the current rules. We are seeking the views of stakeholders to explore the need for a possible new competition tool that would allow addressing such structural competition problems, in a timely and effective manner ensuring fair and competitive markets across the economy.”

The need for a new competition tool

Over the past years, the Commission has reflected on the role of competition policy and how it fits in a world that is changing fast, is increasingly digital and globalised, and must become greener. This reflection process is part of a broader policy debate about the need for changes to the current competition law framework so that enforcement agencies around the globe can continue to preserve the competitiveness of markets. Different stakeholders have engaged in this debate and contributed with reports and studies, making proposals on how to adapt or extend the competition law toolbox.

Against this background, the Commission has concluded that ensuring the contestability and fair functioning of markets across the economy is likely to require a holistic and comprehensive approach, with an emphasis on the following three pillars:

(1)  the continued vigorous enforcement of the existing competition rules making full use of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), including the use of interim measures and restorative remedies, where appropriate;

(2)  possible ex-ante regulation of digital platforms, including additional requirements for those that play a gatekeeper role; and

(3)  a possible new competition tool to deal with structural competition problems across markets which cannot be tackled or addressed in the most effective manner on the basis of the current competition rules (e.g. preventing markets from tipping).

The parallel impact assessment on platform-specific ex ante regulation, for which a separate stakeholder consultation has been launched today, covers the second pillar, while this stakeholder consultation deals with the third pillar.

The Commission’s experience with enforcing the EU competition rules in digital and other markets, as well as the reflection process on the fitness of the existing competition rules by the Commission and national competition authorities, have helped the Commission identify certain structural competition problems that the current rules cannot tackle or cannot address in the most effective manner.

The new competition tool should enable the Commission to address gaps in the current competition rules and to intervene against structural competition problems across markets in a timely and effective manner.

After establishing a structural competition problem through a rigorous market investigation during which rights of defence are fully respected, the new tool should allow the Commission to impose behavioural and where appropriate, structural remedies. However, there would be no finding of an infringement, nor would any fines be imposed on the market participants.

Next steps

The Commission is consulting stakeholders from the public and private sector, including competition authorities and government bodies, academia, as well as legal and economic practitioners. Respondents are invited to submit their views on the inception impact assessment until 30 June 2020 and to respond to the open public consultation until 8 September 2020 in any official EU language. Subject to the outcome of the impact assessment, a legislative proposal is scheduled for Q4/2020.

Background

EU competition law can address anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices between companies pursuant to Article 101 TFEU and the abuse by a company of a dominant position pursuant to Article 102 TFEU. However, some structural competition problems are outside the scope of the EU competition rules or cannot be addressed in the most effective manner.

Structural competition problems can arise in a broad range of different scenarios, however they can be grouped into two categories depending on whether harm is about to affect the market or has already affected the market.

  • Structural risks for competition: Certain market characteristics (e.g. network and scale effects, lack of multi-homing and lock-in effects) coupled with the conduct of the companies operating in those markets can create a threat to competition. This is particularly the case for markets at risk of “tipping”. The risks to competition arise through the creation of powerful market players with an entrenched market and/or gatekeeper position which could be prevented by early intervention. Other scenarios falling under this category include unilateral strategies by non-dominant companies to monopolise a market through anti-competitive means.
  • A structural lack of competition: Certain market structures do not deliver competitive outcomes (i.e. a structural market failure), even without companies acting anti-competitively. For example, markets may display systemic failures due to certain structural features, such as high concentration and entry barriers, consumer lock-in, lack of access to data or data accumulation. Similarly, oligopolistic market structures increase the risk of tacit collusion, including markets featuring increased transparency due to algorithm-based technological solutions, which are becoming increasingly prevalent across sectors.

The impact assessment for a possible new competition tool initiative is without prejudice to existing sector-specific regulation and the existing competition tools currently available to the Commission and the national competition authorities of the EU Member States. It is also complementary to the Commission’s parallel impact assessment on platform-specific ex ante regulation, which is part of the Digital Services Act package announced in the “Shaping Europe’s digital future” Communication.

For More Information

Links to our IIA and questionnaire

Links to DSA IIA and questionnaire

Understanding and fighting disinformation: the European Digital Media Observatory kicks off | EU Commission Press

The EU-funded European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) project started its activities yesterday. Led by the European University Institute of Florence (Italy), EDMO will support the creation and work of a multidisciplinary community composed of fact-checkers, academic researchers and other relevant stakeholders with expertise in the field of online disinformation. The project will contribute to a deeper understanding of disinformation relevant actors, vectors, tools, methods, dissemination dynamics, prioritised targets and impact on society. Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “Disinformation is increasingly becoming a threat to our democratic societies and we need to fight it. Whilst doing so, we will uphold European values and fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression and information. The independent European Digital Media Observatory is an important element of our approach – it promotes fact-checking and improves our ability to understand better the spread of online disinformation.” Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “The past few months have again shown the serious and damaging impact disinformation can have on our health, societies, and economies. I am pleased to see the launch of the European Digital Media Observatory. The Observatory will be an important reference point for our efforts to fight, debunk, expose, understand and analyse disinformation activities in Europe.” This independent collaboration hub will increase the scientific knowledge available on online disinformation but also advance the development of an EU market of fact-checking services, and support public authorities in charge of monitoring digital media and developing new policies. It will receive €2.5 million funding through Connecting Europe Facility, the European infrastructure financing programme. The consortium includes the Athens Technology Center (Greece), Aarhus University (Denmark), and the fact-checking organisation Pagella Politica (Italy). 

Making sure crime does not pay: Commission reports on implementation of EU rules on seizing criminals’ assets | EU Commission Press

The Commission is today reporting on the implementation of EU rules on seizing tools used to commit crimes and revenues from criminal activities. Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “We need to hit criminals where it hurts the most. Seizing illicit assets is one of the most powerful means to tackle serious and organised crime. Criminals and their assets move easily across borders, so we must strengthen action at EU level, together with Member States and EU Agencies.” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “We need the right tools at our disposal to quickly and effectively deprive criminals of their financial gains and break their business model. We will continue to work closely with the European Parliament and the Council towards building a more effective EU asset recovery system.” The report shows that the EU has deployed considerable efforts to harmonise rules on confiscation and asset recovery. Thanks to the 2014 Directive on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime, there are now clear rules in place across the EU for seizing criminals’ assets. In addition, Asset Recovery Offices have been established in all Member States, helping to quickly trace illicit assets. The recently-adopted Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing orders and confiscation orders will also improve cross-border cooperation. However, much more remains to be done. Only 1% of criminal proceeds are confiscated in the EU according to Europol estimates, allowing organised crime groups to invest in the expansion of their criminal activities and infiltrate the legal economy. The Commission will now assess the potential for further developing the EU’s asset recovery system, based on the results of today’s report, and in close cooperation with the European Parliament and the Council. The report and its annex are available online. More information on confiscation and asset recovery is available online

Commission launches WIFI4EU call for municipalities to apply for free Wi-Fi network in public spaces | EU Commission Press

Tomorrow, the Commission will launch the fourth call for applications for WiFi4EU vouchers to set up free Wi-Fi networks in public spaces, including town halls, public libraries, museums, public parks or squares. It will be open to municipalities or associations of municipalities in all 27 EU Member States and the United Kingdom, as well as Iceland and Norway, for one day and a half – specifically from tomorrow 3 June 2020 at 13.00 CET until 4 June 2020 at 17.00 CET. Municipalities will have the opportunity to apply for 947 vouchers, valued €15,000 each. Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: “I am pleased to announce the opening of the call for the fourth and final round of WiFi4EU vouchers. Free connectivity in public spaces across Europe, benefits citizens and tourists alike, while at the same time it is amplifying the positive effects of connected local communities.” Once municipalities have registered on the dedicated WIFI4EU portal, they will be able to apply for a voucher with just one click. The vouchers will be distributed on a first come, first served basis, but in order to ensure the best possible geographical balance, each participating country will be entitled to a minimum of 15 vouchers. The present call for applications marks the fourth and final one for the WiFi4EU programme. Since its launch in 2018, a total of 7,980 vouchers and €120 million in funding have been awarded. Information about the opportunity to participate in the WiFi4EU call as well as local community stories are available on the WIFI4EU page.  Further information is available online, in the Questions and Answers and this factsheet, while a map illustrates the number of municipalities throughout Europe who have so far benefited from the scheme.

Aviation Safety: Commission adopts new EU Air Safety List | EU Commission Press

The European Commission today updated the EU Air Safety List, the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union as they do not meet international safety standards. The Commission wishes to ensure the highest level of air safety for all passengers travelling in the European Union.

Following today’s update, all airlines certified in Armenia have been added to the list, after further assessment of the country’s safety oversight capabilities. This decision follows the hearings of the Armenian Civil Aviation Committee (CAC) and six Armenian air carriers.

In addition, the list of air carriers certified in Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nepal, and Sierra Leone has been reviewed and amended, with new carriers from these countries added, and carriers which do not exist any longer removed.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “The EU Air Safety List should be used as an instrument that helps airlines and countries listed reassess and improve their flying standards. The decision to include the Armenian carriers on the EU Air Safety List has been made based on the unanimous opinion delivered by the Air Safety Committee. The Commission, with the assistance of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, stands ready to cooperate and invest in Armenia to improve its aviation safety.”

The EU Air Safety List not only helps to maintain high levels of safety in the EU, but also helps affected airlines and countries to improve their levels of safety, in order for them to eventually be taken off the list. In addition, the EU Air Safety List has become a major preventive tool, as it motivates countries with safety problems to act upon them before a ban under the EU Air Safety List would become necessary.

Following today’s update, a total of 96 airlines are banned from EU skies:

  • 90 airlines certified in 16 states*, due to inadequate safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states;
  • Six individual airlines, based on serious safety deficiencies identified: Avior Airlines (Venezuela), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).

An additional three airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and Air Koryo (North Korea).

Background

Today’s update of the Air Safety List is based on the unanimous opinion of the aviation safety experts from the Member States who met from 12-14 May 2020 under the auspices of the EU Air Safety Committee (ASC), via videoconference. This Committee is chaired by the European Commission with the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The update equally got the support from the European Parliament’s Transport Committee. Assessment is made against international safety standards, and notably the standards promulgated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The Commission is constantly looking at ways to improve aviation safety, notably through collaborative efforts with aviation authorities worldwide to raise global safety standards.

For More Information

Questions & answers on the EU Air Safety List

List of airlines banned within the EU 

Importance of aviation for the European economy

EASA Technical Cooperation Projects

*Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of 2 airlines), Armenia, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Moldova (with the exception of 3 airlines), Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

State aid: Commission approves € 1.6 billion Polish scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak and provide liquidity support | EU Commission Press

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an approximately €1.6 billion (PLN 7.5 billion) Polish scheme that partially compensates large enterprises and certain small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the losses suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and provides them with direct liquidity through loans. The scheme is part of a wider Polish support programme, the so-called “Financial Shield for Large Enterprises”.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The € 1.6 billion scheme will allow Poland to compensate large enterprises and certain small and medium-sized enterprises for the damage suffered as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, while supporting their immediate liquidity needs. The measure will help those businesses continue their activities during and after the outbreak. We are working in close contact and cooperation with Poland, as we continue working with all Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place as quickly and effectively as possible, in line with EU rules.

The Polish support measure

Poland notified to the Commission an approximately €1.6 billion (PLN 7.5 billion) scheme to compensate affected companies for the damages caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme, which will be managed by the Polish Development Fund, is part of the “Financial Shield for Large Enterprises”, a support programme set up by the Polish authorities which has an overall budget of approximately EUR 5.5 billion and will be open to large enterprises and certain larger SMEs registered in Poland.

The support will be given in the form of subsidised loans at favourable interest rates which can be redeemed by 30 September 2021 in an amount not exceeding 75% of the actual damage incurred by the beneficiary companies from 1 March until at the latest 31 August 2020 directly due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Beneficiaries of the aid will therefore have access to immediate liquidity, through loans. The aid is planned to be granted in the form of loans to be partially written-off later by an amount equivalent to the calculated damages suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Commission assessed the measure, which provides for both compensation for damages and liquidity support, under two legal bases:

  1. Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate specific companies or specific sectors (in the form of schemes) for the damages directly caused by exceptional occurrences, and
  2. under Article 107(3)(b) TFEU, which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures implemented by Member States to remedy a serious disturbance in their economy.

The Commission considers that the coronavirus outbreak qualifies as an exceptional occurrence, as it is an extraordinary, unforeseeable event having a significant economic impact. Therefore, exceptional interventions by the Member States to compensate for the damages linked to the outbreak are justified.

The Commission found that the Polish aid scheme will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the foreseen compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage, in line with Article 107(2)(b) TFEU.

Moreover, the Commission concluded that the measure for liquidity support will contribute to managing the economic impact of the coronavirus in Poland.It is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.

Background

As of today, the Commission has approved 20 measures notified by Poland under the Temporary Framework worth over €50 billion, in part financed by EU structural funds. The Commission is assessing all coronavirus related measures notified by Member States as a matter of priority. At the same time, the duration of this assessment depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the measure and how comprehensive the information submitted by the Member State is.

Financial support from EU or national funds granted to health services or other public services to tackle the coronavirus situation falls outside the scope of State aid control. The same applies to any public financial support given directly to citizens. Similarly, public support measures that are available to all companies such as for example wage subsidies and suspension of payments of corporate and value added taxes or social contributions do not fall under State aid control and do not require the Commission’s approval under EU State aid rules. In all these cases, Member States can act immediately.

When State aid rules are applicable, Member States can design ample aid measures to support specific companies or sectors suffering from the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak in line with the existing EU State aid framework. On 13 March 2020, the Commission adopted a Communication on a Coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak setting out these possibilities. In this respect, for example:

  • Member States can compensate specific companies or specific sectors (in the form of schemes) for the damage suffered due and directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as those caused by the coronavirus outbreak. This is foreseen by Article 107(2)(b)TFEU.
  •  State aid rules based on Article 107(3)(c) TFEU enable Member States to help companies cope with liquidity shortages and needing urgent rescue aid.
  •  This can be complemented by a variety of additional measures, such as under the de minimis Regulation and the General Block Exemption Regulation, which can also be put in place by Member States immediately, without involvement of the Commission.

In case of particularly severe economic situations, such as the one currently faced by all Member States and the UK due the coronavirus outbreak, EU State aid rules allow Member States to grant support to remedy a serious disturbance to their economy. This is foreseen by Article 107(3)(b) TFEU of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

On 19 March 2020, the Commission adopted a State aid Temporary Framework based on Article 107(3)(b) TFEU to enable Member States to use the full flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The Temporary Framework, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020, provides for the following types of aid, which can be granted by Member States: (i) Direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages and advance payments; (ii) State guarantees for loans taken by companies; (iii) Subsidised public loans to companies, including subordinated loans; (iv) Safeguards for banks that channel State aid to the real economy; (v) Public short-term export credit insurance;(vi) Support for coronavirus related research and development (R&D); (vii) Support for the construction and upscaling of testing facilities; (viii) Support for the production of products relevant to tackle the coronavirus outbreak; (ix) Targeted support in the form of deferral of tax payments and/or suspensions of social security contributions; (x) Targeted support in the form of wage subsidies for employees; (xi) Targeted support in the form of equity and/or hybrid capital instruments.

The Temporary Framework will be in place until the end of December 2020. As solvency issues may materialise only at a later stage as this crisis evolves, for recapitalisation measures only the Commission has extended this period until the end of June 2021. With a view to ensuring legal certainty, the Commission will assess before that date if it needs to be extended.

The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57054 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of State aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.

More information on the Temporary Framework and other action the Commission has taken to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

State aid: Commission approves €97 million Danish scheme to compensate travel operators for damages caused by cancellations due to coronavirus outbreak | EU Commission Press

The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules an approximately €97 million (DKK 725 million) Danish scheme to compensate travel operators for damages caused by the cancellation of package travels due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent travel restrictions imposed by the Danish Government. Under the scheme, travel operators will be entitled to compensation for the losses suffered as a consequence of reimbursing consumers in the event of cancellation.. The compensation, in the form of direct grants covering up to 100% of documented losses related to the coronavirus outbreak, will be granted by the Danish Travel Guarantee Fund and will cover the period from 26 January 2020 until 31 May 2020, corresponding to the timeframe in which the Danish government has put in place travel restrictions. The Commission found that the Danish measure is in line with Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate specific companies or specific sectors for the damages directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Danish measure will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the envisaged compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage.  The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57352 in the public case register on the Commission’s competition website, once confidentiality issues have been resolved