State aid: Commission approves €10 billion Finnish scheme to support electricity producers in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine

The European Commission has approved a €10 billion Finnish loan guarantee scheme to support energy producers in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022, and amended on 20 July 2022, based on Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’), recognising that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance. The measure will be open to (i) electricity producers with a production capacity of at least 100 MW; and (ii) other producers with regional importance, significance or criticality in electricity markets. Under the scheme, the loans will be granted directly by the Ministry of Finance. The eligible loans must relate to working capital needs, with a maximum maturity of two years. The maximum loan amount per beneficiary cannot exceed the liquidity needs derived from the projected additional collateral requirements for the coming 12 months. The Commission concluded that the Finnish guarantee scheme 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 Crisis Framework.On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU State aid rules. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “In the context of economic uncertainty caused by the current geopolitical crisis, this €10 billion loan guarantee scheme will enable Finland to provide liquidity support to electricity producers, allowing them to continue their activities. We continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. At the same time, we continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, while protecting the level playing field in the Single Market.” A press release is available online.