State aid: Commission approves amendment to Dutch scheme to support companies offering special transport services in the context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found an amendment to an existing Dutch scheme to support companies offering special transport services to be in line with the State aid Temporary Framework. The Commission approved the original scheme in February 2021 (SA.61360). The existing scheme, covering the period from 1 July to 13 October 2020, consists of two direct grants measures: (i) to cover fixed costs such as depreciation; and (ii) to support the uncovered fixed costs linked to employees. Eligible beneficiaries are companies offering special transport services for specific groups such as children and elderly persons who are not able to take regular public transport to go to school or to certain social activities. The Netherlands notified the following modifications to the existing scheme: (i) an extension of the eligible period, to cover the period from 14 October 2020 to 30 September 2021; and (ii) an overall budget increase by €402.5 million. The transport companies will remain entitled to an overall compensation for a maximum of 70% of the revenues lost due to cancelled rides during the eligible period. The Commission found that the Dutch scheme as amended remains in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support will not exceed (i) €1.8 million per company under the first measure; (ii) €10 million per company under the second measure; and (iii) the aid will be granted before 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the scheme, as amended, remains 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 of the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.100306 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.