The European Fee has discovered €24.7 million of Italian assist in favour of Alitalia to be in keeping with EU state assist guidelines. This measure goals at compensating the airline for the damages suffered on sure routes because of the coronavirus outbreak between 1 November and 31 December 2020.
Government Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in command of competitors coverage, mentioned: “The coronavirus disaster and restrictions to restrict the unfold of the virus are persevering with for longer than all of us hoped for. The measure accepted right now allows Italy to supply additional compensation for direct damages suffered by Alitalia between November and December 2020 because of such restrictions. We proceed working carefully with member states to make sure that nationwide assist measures will be put in place in a co-ordinated and efficient method, in keeping with EU guidelines. On the similar time, our investigations into previous assist measures to Alitalia are ongoing and we’re in touch with Italy on their plans and compliance with EU guidelines.”
The restrictions in place each in Italy and in overseas nations so as to restrict the unfold of a second wave of the pandemic have closely affected Alitalia’s operations. Italy notified to the Fee a further assist measure to compensate Alitalia for additional damages suffered on sure routes from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2020 because of the emergency measures essential to restrict the unfold of the virus. This follows the Fee choices of 4 September 2020 and 29 December 2020 to approve Italian measures compensating Alitalia for the harm suffered from governmental restrictions between 1 March 2020 to fifteen June 2020 and 16 June to 31 October 2020, respectively.
The Fee assessed the measure below Article 107(2)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which allows the Fee to approve state assist measures granted by member states to compensate particular corporations or sectors for harm immediately attributable to distinctive occurrences. The Fee considers that the coronavirus outbreak qualifies as such an distinctive incidence, as it’s a rare, unforeseeable occasion having vital financial impression. Because of this, distinctive interventions by the Member State to compensate for the damages linked to the outbreak are justified.
The Fee discovered that the Italian measure will compensate for damages suffered by Alitalia that are immediately linked to the coronavirus outbreak, because the lack of profitability on the eligible routes because of the containment measures in the course of the related interval will be thought-about as harm immediately linked to the distinctive incidence. It additionally discovered that the measure is proportionate, because the route-by-route quantitative evaluation submitted by Italy appropriately identifies the harm attributable to the containment measures, and subsequently the compensation doesn’t exceed what is critical to make good the harm on these routes.
On this foundation, the Fee concluded that the extra Italian harm compensation measure is in keeping with EU State assist guidelines.
Primarily based on complaints acquired, on 23 April 2018 the Fee opened a proper investigation process on €900 million loans granted to Alitalia by Italy in 2017. On 28 February 2020, the Fee opened a separate formal investigation process on a further €400 million mortgage granted by Italy in October 2019. Each investigations are ongoing.
Monetary assist from EU or nationwide funds granted to well being providers or different public providers to deal with the coronavirus state of affairs falls outdoors the scope of State assist management. The identical applies to any public monetary assist given on to residents. Equally, public assist measures which can be obtainable to all corporations corresponding to for instance wage subsidies and suspension of funds of company and worth added taxes or social contributions don’t fall below state assist management and don’t require the Fee’s approval below EU state assist guidelines. In all these instances, member states can act instantly.
When State assist guidelines are relevant, member states can design ample assist measures to assist particular corporations or sectors affected by the results of the coronavirus outbreak in keeping with the prevailing EU State assist framework. On 13 March 2020, the Fee adopted a Communication on a co-ordinated financial response to the COVID-19 outbreak setting out these potentialities.
On this respect, for instance:
- Member states can compensate particular corporations or particular sectors (within the type of schemes) for the harm suffered due and immediately attributable to distinctive occurrences, corresponding to these attributable to the coronavirus outbreak. That is foreseen by Article 107(2)(b)TFEU.
- State assist guidelines based mostly on Article 107(3)(c) TFEU allow member states to assist corporations deal with liquidity shortages and needing pressing rescue assist.
- This may be complemented by quite a lot of further measures, corresponding to below the de minimis Regulation and the Normal Block Exemption Regulation, which will also be put in place by member states instantly, with out involvement of the Fee.
In case of notably extreme financial conditions, such because the one at the moment confronted by all Member States due the coronavirus outbreak, EU State assist guidelines permit member states to grant assist to treatment a critical disturbance to their economic system. That is foreseen by Article 107(3)(b) TFEU of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
On 19 March 2020, the Fee adopted a state assist Momentary Framework based mostly on Article 107(3)(b) TFEU to allow Member States to make use of the complete flexibility foreseen below State assist guidelines to assist the economic system within the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The Momentary Framework, as amended on 3 April, 8 Could, 29 June, 13 October 2020 and 28 January 2021, supplies for the next forms of assist, which will be granted by member states: (i) Direct grants, fairness injections, selective tax benefits and advance funds; (ii) State ensures for loans taken by corporations; (iii) Subsidised public loans to corporations, together with subordinated loans; (iv) Safeguards for banks that channel state assist to the actual economic system; (v) Public short-term export credit score insurance coverage;(vi) Assist for coronavirus associated analysis and growth (R&D); (vii) Assist for the development and upscaling of testing amenities; (viii) Assist for the manufacturing of merchandise related to deal with the coronavirus outbreak; (ix) Focused assist within the type of deferral of tax funds and/or suspensions of social safety contributions; (x) Focused assist within the type of wage subsidies for workers; (xi) Focused assist within the type of fairness and/or hybrid capital devices; (xii) Assist for uncovered mounted prices for corporations dealing with a decline in turnover within the context of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Momentary Framework might be in place till the top of December 2021. With a view to making sure authorized certainty, the Fee will assess earlier than this date if it must be prolonged.
The non-confidential model of the choice might be made obtainable below the case quantity SA.61676 within the state assist register on the Fee’s competitors web site as soon as any confidentiality points have been resolved. New publications of State assist choices on the web and within the Official Journal are listed within the Competitors Weekly e-Information.
Extra data on the Momentary Framework and different motion the Fee has taken to deal with the financial impression of the coronavirus pandemic will be discovered right here.