The European Commission has approved a Bulgarian scheme of 20.5m euros to support bus operators affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictive measures the Bulgarian government had to implement to curb the spread of the virus. The measure was approved under the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures.
Public support under the scheme will take the form of direct grants. The measure will be open to licensed bus and/or coach undertakings that have reported revenues from the activity of bus and coach transport of passengers worth more than EUR 15 000 (BGN 30 000) in 2019. In addition, in order to be eligible for support, bus operators must be experienced a decrease in turnover of at least 20% every three months of 2021 compared to the corresponding months in 2019, as well as a decrease in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. The amount of aid for each beneficiary will be up to 8% of its net revenues from transport activities reported in 2019.
The Commission found that the Bulgarian scheme met the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) shall not exceed EUR 1,8 million per undertaking; And (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission has concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to address the serious difficulties in the economy of a Member State in accordance with Article 107 (3) (b) ) of the TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure in accordance with 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.