The European Commission has approved an approximately €80 million (HRK 600m) Croatian scheme to support enterprises active in the maritime, transport, travel, infrastructure and related sectors that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme, comprising two measures, was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework.
The support will take the form of state guarantees on new loans from banks or other financial institutions. The State guarantee will cover up to 90% of the loans. The scheme aims at providing liquidity to enterprises of all sizes affected by the coronavirus outbreak, thus enabling them to continue their activities, start investments and maintain employment. The scheme is expected to support over 1,000 companies.
The Commission found that the Croatian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, under the first measure, aid does not exceed €800,000 per company. Under the second measure, (i) the loan amount per company is limited to what is needed to cover its liquidity needs for the near future, (ii) the interest rates correspond to the minimum levels laid down in the Temporary Framework, and (iii) the guarantees and loans will be provided until the end of this year, with a maximum duration of six years.
Under both measures, aid may be granted only to companies that were not in difficulty already on 31 December 2019 but were significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measures also include safeguards to ensure that the aid is effectively channeled by the banks or other financial institutions to the beneficiaries in need. The Commission concluded that the measures are 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 of the Temporary Framework.
On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU state aid rules. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57711 in the state aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.