State aid: Commission approves €40 million Dutch subsidised soft bridge loans scheme to support start-ups affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €40 million Dutch scheme providing soft bridge loans with subsidised interest rates to start-ups affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The measure is open to small and medium-sized enterprises registered as start-ups in the first two quarters of 2020 and active in all sectors, except the financial, primary agricultural production, fisheries and aquaculture sectors. It will be managed by Qredits, a non-profit microcredit provider, on behalf of the Dutch State. The scheme complements previous measures, by specifically addressing liquidity constraints of young start-ups affected by the coronavirus outbreak, with the aim to preserve the continuity of economic activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Dutch measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular: i) the loan amount is limited to €35,000 per beneficiary; ii) aid will only be granted to small and micro enterprises that are not subject to collective insolvency procedure under national law and have not received rescue or restructuring aid (or have given it back); and iii) 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 in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission has 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.62556 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.