June 3 ------ The European Commission has approved a €600 million (about $671 million) Finnish guarantee scheme to support the maritime companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework first adopted in March 2020. As explained, the scheme will be accessible to those maritime operators that are essential for maintaining the security of supply to Finland during the coronavirus outbreak.
The aim of the measure is to help these companies cover their immediate working capital needs, maintain employment and have sufficient liquidity to continue their activities, which are vital to safeguard maritime cargo traffic and ensure essential supplies to Finland. “This €600 million Finnish guarantee scheme will help those maritime companies that transport essential supplies to Finland and are affected by the current coronavirus crisis to cover their immediate working capital needs and continue their activities,” Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, commented. “This is the first scheme we have approved specifically designed to support the maritime sector in these difficult times.”
Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of state guarantees on working capital loans. The measure will be directly operated by the Finnish State Treasury, according to the commission. The commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules after concluding it “is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State”.