State aid: Commission approves €8.4 million Bulgarian scheme to support tour operators affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved an approximately €8.4 million (BGN 16.5 million) Bulgarian scheme to support tour operators affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The support will take the form of direct grants and will be used by the beneficiaries to refund their customers for trips that were cancelled between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the related travel restrictions measures necessary to limit the spread of the virus. The aim of the measure is to help the beneficiaries address the liquidity shortages they have been facing due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Bulgarian 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 beneficiary; and (ii) 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 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.62887 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.