State aid: Commission approves €21 million Greek scheme to support operators of tourist buses and trains affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €21 million Greek scheme to support operators of tourist buses and trains affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The support, which will take form of direct grants, is intended to mitigate the impact on the beneficiaries of the restrictive measures that the Greek government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus, such as ceilings in the seating capacity on trains and buses. Under the scheme, operators of tourist buses will receive a fixed amount of support per bus, depending on the seating capacity, while operators of tourist trains will be entitled to receive a fixed amount of aid per train regardless of the seating capacity. The Commission found that the Greek 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 beneficiary as provided by the Temporary Framework; 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.62171 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.