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Commission approves €3.07 million Bulgarian scheme to support tour operators in the context of the coronavirus pandemic

The European Commission has approved a €3.07 million (BGN 6m) Bulgarian scheme to support tour operators affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The measure was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants. In order to be eligible, a company must have recorded a difference of at least €256 (BGN 500) between its turnover (excluding VAT) in 2019 and its turnover (excluding VAT) in 2020, combined with any state aids received in 2020 and in 2021.

In addition, a company must have recorded a turnover (excluding VAT) higher than €256 (BGN 500) in both 2018 and 2019. The aim of the scheme is to provide liquidity support to tour operators having to refund customers for the travels scheduled to take place between 1 March to 31 December 2020 and subsequently cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak and the travel restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €2.3m per beneficiary; and (ii) will be granted no later than 30 June 2022.

The Commission 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 of the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.101306 in the state aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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