State aid: Commission approves €15 million Irish scheme to support commercial bus operators in the context of the coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved a €15 million Irish scheme to support commercial bus operators affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The aid will take the form of direct grants and the measure will be open to small and micro enterprises active in urban and suburban passenger land transport that are not compensated for the fulfilment of a public service obligation pursuant to Regulation 1370/2007. The purpose of the measure is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that the Irish government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the Irish scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support will not exceed €1.8 million per company; and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure 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 of the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure 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.63009 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.