State aid: Commission re-approves Dutch €3.4 billion liquidity support to KLM

The European Commission has re-approved, under EU State aid rules, a €3.4 billion Dutch aid measure consisting of a State guarantee on loans and a subordinated State loan to KLM to provide urgent liquidity to the company in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. This decision follows the annulment of its initial decision of 13 July 2020 by the General Court (GC), which considered that the Commission did not provide sufficient reasoning in particular on (i) why KLM was the only beneficiary of the Dutch aid measure, and (ii) why KLM had not benefitted from the previous French aid measure granted to Air France (SA.57082). The effects of the annulment were suspended for two months, pending the adoption of a new decision by the Commission. In its new decision, the Commission confirmed its previous assessment and addressed the issues identified by the GC by providing further information on the functioning of the Air France-KLM group and on the contractual arrangements in place regulating the granting of aid by the Netherlands and France. The Commission also carried out a thorough assessment of the Dutch and French aid measures and of their effective beneficiaries. On this basis, 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. Today’s decision ensures that the disbursed aid to KLM will not have to be repaid. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.57116 once confidentiality issues have been resolved.