European Commission approves €695,000 Polish program to support tour operators affected by COVID-19
The European Commission announced that it had approved changes to an existing Polish scheme to support tour operators affected by the pandemic, including a budget increase of €695,000 or PLN 3.23 million, which are also in line with the aid framework temporary states.
In a statement released on Tuesday, April 26, the European Commission said the initial scheme was initially approved by the Commission itself on September 21, 2022, and then amended on June 2, 2021, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
“Poland has notified the following changes to the existing regime: (i) a further postponement of the date when tour operators must start repaying their loans to December 31, 2022, under certain conditions; and (ii) the introduction of an additional measure with a budget of €695,000 (PLN 3.23 million) aimed at exempting tour operators from the obligation to pay additional interest on loans arising from this new postponement », read the statement.
On September 20, the European Commission approved a program worth around €193 million (PLN 851.9 million) to support companies operating in the tourism and culture sector affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
This scheme has been adopted under the Provisional State Aid Framework and the aid will be granted in one of the following three forms:
- subsidized interest rates on loans
- direct grants
- exemptions from the obligation to pay certain social security contributions
As part of the subsidized interest rate measure, state support may also cover reimbursements, on behalf of tour operators, of organized trips canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic.
On the other hand, aid in the form of direct grants will support companies operating in the tourism and culture sector, which have had to cease their activities due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
In addition, the Commission also notes that the amended scheme complies with the conditions set out in the provisional framework.
According to the European Commission, the aid will not exceed 2.3 million euros per beneficiary and will be delivered no later than June 30, 2022.
“The Commission has concluded that the scheme, as amended, remains necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in accordance with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and under the conditions of the temporary framework, ” the statement also noted.
On this basis, the Commission also cleared the measure under EU state aid rules.