State aid: Commission approves €31 million Czech scheme to compensate rail passenger transport operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €31 million (approximately CZK 800 million) Czech aid scheme to compensate rail passenger transport operators for the damage suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that Czechia implemented to limit the spread of the virus. Under the scheme, rail passenger transport operators will be entitled to compensation in the form of direct grants, for up to 100% of the damages incurred between 12 March and 30 June 2020. The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures granted by Member States to compensate companies for the damage directly caused by exceptional occurrences, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Czech scheme will compensate damages that are directly linked to the coronavirus outbreak. It also found that the measure is proportionate, as the envisaged compensation does not exceed what is necessary to make good the damage. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the scheme is in line with EU State aid rules. More information on 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.62375 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.