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State aid: EU Commission approves Belgian guarantee scheme mobilising €50 billion support for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €50 billion Belgian loan guarantee scheme to support the Belgian economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The support will be accessible to all companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed traders.

The aim of the scheme is to help businesses affected by the economic impact of the current crisis cover their liquidity needs, thus ensuring the continuation of their activities. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, and in particular Article 107(3)(b)of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures implemented by Member States to remedy a serious disturbance to their economy.

The Commission found that the Belgian scheme is in line the principles set out in the EU Treaty and is well targeted to remedy to a serious disturbance to the Belgian economy. The Commission therefore concluded that the measure will contribute to managing the economic impact of the coronavirus in Belgium.

It 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 general principles set out in the Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This Belgian guarantee scheme, which is expected to mobilise up to €50 billion of liquidity, will support businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It will help those businesses cover their immediate needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak.

We continue working in close cooperation with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place as quickly and effectively as possible, in line with EU rules.”

Arianna Podesta – Giulia Astuti – Maria Tsoni –