European Commission approves Belgian €250 million subordinated loan scheme to support start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs affected by the coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a Belgian scheme of €250 million, financed by the Flemish region, to support companies 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.

Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The €250 million subordinated loan scheme will support companies in the Flemish region affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Start-ups, scale-ups, and SMEs will be able to benefit from subordinated loans of up to €800,000 per company to cover their immediate liquidity needs and continue their activities in these difficult times. We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”

The support measure for the Flemish region

Belgium notified to the Commission under the Temporary Frameworka subordinated loan scheme to support companies, in particular start-ups, scale-ups and small/medium-sized enterprises, active in the Flemish region and affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure, with a budget of €250 million, aims at supporting the financing needs of these businesses at a crucial point of their economic development.

The Commission found that the measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the subordinated loans will not exceed €800,000 per company (except in the primary agriculture sector and in the fishery and aquaculture sector, where the limits of €100,000 and €120,000 per company respectively, apply), and (ii) the loans will be provided until the end of this year, with a maximum duration of three years.

The Commission therefore 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 measures under EU State aid rules.