State aid: Commission approves €4 million Estonian scheme to support commercial regular bus services companies in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €4 million Estonian scheme to support commercial regular bus services companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants to compensate part of the ticket revenue losses that companies incurred due to the significant reduction of the number of passengers since the start of the pandemic. The aim of the measure is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that the affected companies are facing due to the restrictive measures that the Estonian government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the Estonian measure 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) it 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) of the 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.62921 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.