The European Commission considered that the extension and modification of a Belgian scheme to support airports in Wallonia in the context of the coronavirus pandemic was in compliance with the Temporary Framework on State Aid.
The existing regime was approved on April 11, 2020 (SA.56807). Belgium notified the Commission of its intention to extend the existing measure, in the form of a moratorium allowing operators of Walloon airports to defer the payment of charges. concession due for the year 2021, in return for the payment of interest on the sums due. As Walloon airports are essential transport infrastructures for Belgium, this measure allows them to benefit from short-term liquidity to avoid any risk of default. The potential budget of the measure for 2021 is around € 17.5 million, bringing the total potential aid budget to around € 34.7 million since 2020.
The Commission considered that the measure is compatible with the conditions provided for by the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the moratoriums, equivalent to loans, will be granted before December 31, 2021 and will have a maximum duration of 6 years, (ii) for loans maturing after 2021, the amount of the fees benefiting from the moratorium no. ” does not exceed the limits set by the temporary framework, (iii) the moratoria partially cover the working capital needs of the beneficiaries and (iv) the beneficiaries are not companies in difficulty. The Commission concluded that the measure was necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in accordance with Article 107 (3) (b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and under the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission cleared the measure under EU state aid rules.
More information on the Temporary Framework and other measures taken by the Commission to deal with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under case number SA.60682 in the State Aid Register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.