State aid: Commission approves amendment to Lithuanian subsidised loan scheme to further support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved Lithuanian’s plan to modify a previously approved subsided loan scheme to further support the Lithuanian economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The amendment was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020. On 9 April 2020, the Commission approved two Lithuanian aid schemes to provide liquidity to companies affected by the outbreak in the form of subsidised loans. The present amendment concerns only one of the two existing schemes, namely the measure – offered to SMEs via financial intermediaries – aiming at facilitating access to finance in the form of subsidised loans to companies facing cash shortages as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Lithuania notified the following modifications to this existing scheme: (i) an increase in the estimated total budget of the scheme from €100 million to €200 million; (ii) the maximum duration of the loans will be increased from 36 months to 72 months; and (iii) the maximum underlying loan amount per beneficiary will be increased to €1 million (from the original €100 000). The Commission concluded that the scheme, as amended, 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. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules. The non-confidential versions of the decisions will be made available under case number SA.57303 in the State Aid Register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.