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Coming up: #LongTermBudget and #ClimateLaw and #COVID-19

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MEPs will discuss the Coronavirus outbreak, the EU’s long-term budget and the situation at the Greek-Turkish border during the plenary session on 9-12 March.

Following the rapid spread of the Coronavirus, MEPs will assess EU efforts to come up with a coherent EU-wide response on Tuesday (10 March). They will vote on a resolution on Thursday.

On Wednesday morning (11 March), members will assess the situation of refugees at the Greek-Turkish border following Ankara’s decision at the weekend to lift barriers to migrants and asylum seekers seeking access to the EU.

Also on Wednesday morning, MEPs will discuss with Council President Charles Michel the failure of the February budget summit to reach an agreement on the EU’s long-term budget, which would allow negotiations between member states and the Parliament to start.

Last year, the Parliament declared a climate emergency. On Monday, they will assess whether the European Commission’s climate law proposal will make the EU carbon neutral by 2050. They will discuss the Commission’s new circular economy plan on Wednesday.

MEPs will vote on the post-2020 disability strategy on Wednesday. They are expected to call for disability rights to be integrated in all EU policy and for concrete action on issues including employment, accessibility, poverty and education.

To mark International Women’s Day the Parliament is holding a debate on Tuesday about the role of women as agents for change with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Energy projects that receive EU funding should be in line with the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality objectives, according to a resolution to be voted on Wednesday.

On Thursday (12 March) MEPs will vote on a resolution calling for better protection of EU funds against misuse in the Czech Republic, including by the Czech prime minister.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • The situation in Ukraine six years after the Minsk peace agreement
  • Debate on whether EU action is needed to prevent a shortage of medicines
  • The future of EU competition policy

Exceptionally, the plenary will take place in Brussels instead of Strasbourg because of concerns linked to the spread of the Coronavirus.

Belgium

Commission approves €15.8 million Belgian scheme to support hotels and aparthotels in Brussels in context of coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission approved a €15.8 million Belgian scheme to support hotels and aparthotels in the Brussels-Capital Region in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants of €20,000 minimum or €200,000 maximum per hotel or aparthotel. The grants aim to provide support to affected hotels and aparthotels for lost income and ongoing operating costs, such as costs for insurance, maintenance and security.

The purpose of the measure is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing because of the restrictive measures imposed by the government to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure continuity of their economic activity. The Commission found that the Belgian measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the support (i) will not exceed €800,000 per company; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2020.

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.58763 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Belgium

Commission approves €2.2 million Belgian aid measures to support Flemish airports in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved €2.2 million Belgian aid measures to support the operators of Flemish airports (Antwerp airport, Ostend airport and Kortrijk airport) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measures were approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The measures consist in: (i) an aid scheme, under which all Flemish airport operators will receive support in the form of a direct grant; and (ii) support to the operators of Antwerp and Ostend airports in the form of payment deferrals of certain costs and fees (namely annual compensation for the use of statutory staff of the Flemish Region and concession fee for the use of the airport infrastructure due for the year 2020).

The purpose of the aid measures is to help Flemish airport operators mitigating the liquidity shortages that they have been facing due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found the measures to be in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the measures can only be granted until the end of this year; (ii) the direct grants do not exceed €800,000 per company, as provided by the Temporary Framework; and (iii) the payment deferrals will be granted by 31 December 2020, and will be due by no later than 31 December 2021 and involve minimum remuneration, in line with the Temporary Framework.

The Commission therefore concluded that the measures are 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 Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures 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.58299 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Belgium

Commission approves €10 million Belgian scheme to support potato producers affected by coronavirus outbreak in Wallonia

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The European Commission has approved a €10 million Belgian scheme to support the Walloon potato sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will be open to producers and stockers active in the potato sector in Wallonia.

The scheme aims at addressing the liquidity needs of the beneficiaries, thus helping them continue their activities during and after the coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Belgian scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid does not exceed €100,000 per beneficiary as provided by the Temporary Framework for undertakings in the primary agricultural sector and (ii) the scheme will run until 31 December 2020.

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 set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the scheme 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.58649 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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