State aid: Commission approves €34 million Belgian scheme to support tourism companies in Flanders in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €34 million Belgian scheme to support tourism companies in the Flemish Region in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, support will be granted for investments in health measures, ecological sustainability, digitalisation and professionalisation. Beneficiaries will receive a pre-financing of 100% of the investment cost, up to €200,000 per project. Part of that sum will take the form an interest-free loan, and the other part will take the form of a direct grant. The purpose of the scheme is to support the recovery of the tourism sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Belgian 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 company; 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.61807 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.