State aid: EU Commission approves €800,000 Latvian scheme to support tour operators in the context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €800,000 Latvian scheme to support tour operators that bore the costs of the repatriation of travellers in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020 and 8 May 2020.

The public support, which will take the form ofdirect grants, is intended to cover the financial costs incurred by those operators for the repatriation to Latvia of travellers who were on holiday abroad in the course of the outbreak. The aid will be channelled through the Latvian Consumer Rights Protection Centre.

The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the liquidity shortages that tour operators had to face due to the costs incurred to repatriate travellers and to help them progressively resume their activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Latvian measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

In particular, (i) the support per company will not exceed the limits as set out in the Temporary Framework; and (ii) the scheme will run until 31 December 2020. 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.

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.57423 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Arianna Podesta – TGiulia Astuti –