State aid: Commission approves €210 million Belgian scheme to support travel organisers in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €210 million Belgian scheme to support travel organisers affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of subsidised loans. The scheme aims at compensating travel organisers that issued vouchers for travels cancelled due to the travel restrictions in place and that now have to reimburse the monetary value of those vouchers to travellers. The loan amount per beneficiary will not exceed 80% of the total value of the vouchers issued. All loans will have a fixed annual interest rate of 3% and a maturity of 5 years as from the date of the signature of the loan agreements. The Commission found that the Belgian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the maturity of the loans is limited to five years; (ii) the annual interest rates on the loans respect the minimum levels set out in the Temporary Framework; (iii) the loan amount per beneficiary is in line  with what is foreseen by the Temporary Framework; (iv) the loans relate to working capital needs; and (v) the loan contracts will be signed by 31 December 2021 at the latest. 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.100480 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.a