State aid: Commission approves €66.9 million Swedish scheme to support organisers of package travel affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved an approximately €66.9 million (SEK 679 million) Swedish scheme to support package travel organisers affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The measure intends to support organisers of package travel that have not yet completed their legal obligation to refund travellers after cancellations of package travel bookings (as foreseen by the legal obligations resulting from national law and under the Package Travel Directive) due to the coronavirus outbreak. The support will take the form of subsidised interest rates for loans to package travel organisers. The purpose of the measure is to facilitate access to finance and to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that beneficiaries are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Swedish measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the loans with subsidised interest rates will either (i) be limited to €800,000 per company, or (ii) will respect the minimum levels of interest rates set out in the Temporary Framework and have a maximum maturity of six years. In either case, the loan contracts will be signed by 30 June 2021 at the latest. 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 set out in 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.59639 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.