State aid: Commission approves €19.8 million Greek scheme to support a certain category of bus companies (K.T.E.L. bus companies) in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €19.8 million Greek scheme to support a certain category of bus companies (K.T.E.L. bus companies) providing both local and long-distance regular bus services within the Greek territory in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. K.T.E.L. and K.T.E.L. S.A. bus companies (‘K.T.E.L. bus companies’) have been assigned the exclusive right of providing both local/urban (namely, in urban areas of provincial towns) and long-distance (namely, inter and intra-regional per Regional Unit) regular bus services within the Greek territory. A K.T.E.L. bus company is a type of company established under the national law and may operate in the legal status of an anonymous company (S.A.) or not. There are 34 urban and 62 long-distance K.T.E.L. bus companies, in total, in Greece. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants. The objective of the scheme is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing because of the restrictive measures imposed by the government to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per company; and (ii) will be granted no later than 30 June 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.61573 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.