State aid: Commission approves €122.5 million Dutch scheme to support companies offering special transport services in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €122.5 million Dutch scheme to support 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 scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme 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. In the Netherlands, special transport services have been severely affected by the measures implemented by the government to limit the spread of the virus, such as social distancing rules and restrictions on larger gatherings, leading to a significant decline in their turnover. On 29 June 2020, the Commission approved a first Dutch scheme to support companies offering special transport services, covering the period 15 March to 30 June 2020 (SA.57754). Under the scheme approved today, the transport companies will be entitled to an overall compensation for a maximum of 70% of the revenues lost due to cancelled rides in the period from 1 July to 13 October 2020. The Commission found that the Dutch scheme is 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 measures are 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.61360 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.