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State aid: EU Commission approves €255 million Bulgarian guarantee scheme to support SMEs in coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a Bulgarian BGN 500 million (approx. €255 million) public guarantee scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak (so-called “Intermediated SME Loan Guarantee Program”).

The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020. The Bulgarian Development Bank AD will provide public guarantees on investment loans and working capital loans to micro, small and medium-sized companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Bulgaria.

The scheme aims at limiting the risk associated with issuing loans to those companies that are most severely affected by the economic impact of the current crisis. It will help businesses cover their immediate working capital or investment needs and ensure that they have sufficient liquidity to continue their activities. The Commission found that the measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

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 measures under EU State aid rules.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This €255 million Bulgarian guarantee scheme will help micro, small and medium-sized companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to cover their immediate working capital and investment needs.

We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”

Arianna Podesta – Giulia Astuti – Maria Tsoni –