Brussels, 28 October 2022
The European Commission has approved a €1.5 billion Belgian guarantee scheme to support gas and electricity suppliers in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022, and amended on 20 July 2022, based on Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’), recognising that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance. The measure will be open to natural gas and electricity suppliers as well as to their intermediaries holding a license for the supply of electricity and/or natural gas to end-users in Belgium. In order to be eligible, these companies should not be in financial difficulties at the moment they apply for aid. Under the scheme, the guarantees will be granted by the Ministry of Energy and will cover new working capital loans for a maximum of two years. The Commission concluded that the Belgian guarantee scheme 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 Crisis Framework.
On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU State aid rules. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said:
“In the context of economic uncertainty caused by the current geopolitical crisis, this €1.5 billion guarantee scheme will enable Belgium to provide liquidity support to natural gas and electricity suppliers and to their intermediaries, allowing them to continue their activities. We continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. At the same time, we continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, while protecting the level playing field in the Single Market.”
A press release is available online.
Source – EU Commission