European Commission approves €790 million Croatian guarantee scheme for companies with export activities affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has found a HRK 6 billion (approximately €790 million) Croatian liquidity guarantee scheme for companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules. 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: “This Croatian guarantee scheme of approximately €790 million will support companies with a certain amount of export activities in these difficult times. We continue to work in close cooperation with Member States to find workable solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU rules.”

The Croatian support measure

Croatia notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a HRK 6 billion (approximately €790 million) loan guarantee scheme targeted at certain companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The support, in the form of State guarantees on loans, will be accessible to all companies whose exports represent at least 20% of their yearly revenue. The guarantees will support lending to those companies, but will not take the form of export aid contingent on export activities.

The scheme aims at limiting the risk associated with issuing operating loans to those companies that are most severely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, thus ensuring the continuation of their activities.

The Commission found that the Croatian measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, it covers guarantees on operating loans with a limited maturity and size. It also limits the risk taken by the State to a maximum of 50%. This ensures that support is available at favourable conditions and limited to those who need it in this unprecedented situation. To achieve this goal, the measures also involve minimum remuneration and safeguards to ensure that the aid is effectively channelled by the banks or other financial institutions to the beneficiaries in need.

The Commission therefore concluded that the Croatian guarantee scheme for exporting companies will contribute to managing the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Croatia. 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 set out in the Temporary Framework.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules.