State aid: Commission approves €5.1 million Belgian scheme to support coach companies in Flanders in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €5.1 million Belgian scheme to support coach companies in the Flemish region in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants to compensate part of one of the most significant fixed cost coach companies are facing: the depreciation value of their bus fleet. Aid will amount to 1.5% of the purchase cost of the coaches. The purpose of the measure is to facilitate access to finance and to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing because of the restrictive measures imposed by the government to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the Belgian measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €800,000 per company; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2020. 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.58691 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.