COVID-19: European Commission approves the extension of several Belgian aid schemes
15/04/2021

On 26 March 2021, the European Commission gave its green light to the extension and increase of certain Belgian aid schemes previously approved as part of the economic support measures adopted in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

The notification of these changes was made by Belgium under Article 107, paragraph 3, point b) of the TFEU and on the basis of the Temporary Framework on State Aid Measures to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 28 January 2021, the Commission extended the Temporary Framework, allowing Member States to grant aid measures until 31 December 2021. This fifth amendment to the Framework also raised the maximum ceiling for aid schemes with limited aid amounts, from 800.000 EUR per company and per country to a maximum of 1.800.000 EUR per company, per country (see our article of 3 February 2021).

Belgium therefore wished to extend the duration of several aid schemes and also increase the aid ceiling for a number of them.

As a result, the following schemes remain in effect until 31 December 2021:

At federal level, the exemption from the payment of the annual fee due to the “Agence Fédérale pour la Sécurité de la Chaîne Alimentaire” (AFSCA) for 2020 also applies for 2021.

In the Flemish Region, the following are extended until the end of 2021:

  • The guarantee on loans granted by the Region to undertakings and covering up to 80% of their credit commitments;
  • The two subordinated loan schemes granted to start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs;
  • The aid scheme for strategic transformation of undertakings for investment in products related to the COVID-19;
  • The repayable advance scheme for restarting the events sector; and
  • The aid scheme for Flemish airports. 

In the Brussels-Capital Region, the extension concerns the aid scheme for research and development of products linked to the COVID-19.

Finally, the Walloon Region extended the guarantee scheme on loans granted by the Region, via Geligar, SOWALFIN, SOGEPA or WALLONIE SANTE depending on the companies concerned.

Belgium has also notified the Commission of an increase in the ceiling for several aid schemes. On the basis of the Temporary Framework, as amended by this fifth amendment, the following aid schemes now have an aid maximum of 1.800.000 EUR per company and per country. This modification concerns the following Flemish schemes:

  • The first subordinated loan scheme granted to start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs;
  • The repayable advance scheme for the restart of the events sector; and
  • The aid scheme for Flemish airports.

These last two schemes also see an increase in their budgets, the first to a total budget of 150 million EUR and fr the second to a total of 2.7 million EUR.

The Commission has examined the measures notified by Belgium and considered that these modifications met the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework, referring to their compatibility analysis in the initial decisions concerning each regime.

Annabelle Lepièce, Partner, Brussels

Eléonore Mertens De Wilmars, Junior Associate, Brussels

Voir aussi : CMS Belgium

[+ http://www.cms-db.com]


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