State aid: Commission approves €75 million Belgian scheme to support companies restarting activities in Flemish Region affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €75 million Belgian scheme to support the costs of companies active in the Flemish Region restarting their activities affected by the severe restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, at times causing a long period of closure. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The scheme, called ‘Restart loan for undertakings with liquidity problems’, will be administered by the Flemish Region and will be open to companies of all sizes and active in all sectors, except the financial one.  Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of loans. Eligible companies will receive up to two loans, at a subsidised interest rate of 1%. The Commission found that the Belgian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per company and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission therefore 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.62430 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.