State aid: Commission amends Short-term export-credit insurance Communication in light of economic impact of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has decided to temporarily remove all countries from the list of “marketable risk” countries under the Short-term export-credit insurance Communication. This will make public short-term export credit insurance more widely available in light of the current crisis linked to the coronavirus outbreak. On 23 March 2020, following the indication by some Member States that they expect a global contraction of the private insurance market for exports to all countries due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Commission launched an urgent public consultation. Based on the result of the public consultation and on the relevant economic indicators, the Commission has decided to consider all countries listed in the Annex to the Communication as temporarily non-marketable and to temp remove all countries from the list of “marketable” countries until 31 December 2020. Before that date to give legal certainty, the Commission will re-assess the situation and give clarity on “marketable risk countries” beyond 31 December 2020. The State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak had already introduced additional flexibility on how to demonstrate that certain countries were not-marketable, thereby enabling short-term export credit insurance to be provided by the State where needed. The amendment to the Annex to the Short-term export-credit insurance Communication further expands this flexibility. Following the amendment, State insurers will in principle be able to step in and provide insurance for short-term export-credit risk for all countries, without the need for the Member State in question to demonstrate that the respective country is temporarily “non marketable”. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Managing the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak requires us to act fast. Today, we adopted a comprehensive solution for short-term export-credit insurance. With this amendment, companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to obtain short-term export-credit insurance from public insurers. We are working with 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 full press release is available online.