The European Commission has approved a €165 million Dutch measure to support the five Dutch Travel Guarantee Funds that operate package travel guarantee schemes in the Netherlands and that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The support, which will take the form of subsidised loans, aims to ensure that the five Funds have sufficient liquidity to guarantee all payments made by travellers for package tours that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. By broadening the guarantee to vouchers offered by travel operators, the measure also encourages travellers to accept vouchers instead of direct repayment, mitigating the severe liquidity shortage that the Dutch travel industry is facing. The Commission found that the Dutch measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the reduced interest rates will be above the minimum levels set in the Temporary Framework; (ii) the loan contracts will be signed by 31 December 2020 at the latest; and (iii) the maturity of the loans will not exceed six years. 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 set out in 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.57985 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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