European Commission decision on Nordica state support could come this week
According to a report on ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK), the European Commission could make a decision on state aid for air carrier Nordica before August, in other words this week. Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) had earlier expected the decision in June, but talks have stalled up to this point.
A decision on a permit for state support for Latvian state-owned carrier airBaltic was made much faster, ERR's online news in Estonian reports. airBaltic received a positive response from the European Commission in early June regarding a €250 million investment into the company.
Meanwhile, Estonia made a decision to increase Nordica's share capital by €30 million in April, but has not yet received a final decision from the commission on whether this can go ahead.
Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, told AK Monday that each application is different.
Hololei said: "Everything regarding state support is viewed individually, handled separately, and none examples are alike. All of them are also confidential, which is why the discussions between the commission and member states are not dissected in public."
The proposed support package for the Estonian airline is firstly thought of as a way to reinvigorate the company's financial state after the COVID-19 emergency situation, also making it possible for the company to provide travel from Tallinn even if other airlines can not.
Taivo Linnamägi, Head of the Aviation and Land Development Department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said there have been thorough discussions with the European Commission.
Linnamägi said: "All financial data is looked into, also how the state support is precisely spent. All of that needs to be explained to the Commission. They have also had further questions regarding the near future and potential business plan going forward."
The concrete conditions of the package are not publicized prior to a decision being made. Estonia had hoped to receive a decision this week, meaning before August, when many at the European Commission take their vacations.
Hololei confirmed that a decision on state support for Nordica is to be expected in the coming days, however. "The process has moved forward intensively and I believe a decision will be made soon."
The Estonian state started consultations with the European Commission on the matter at the beginning of June. The government decided to increase the share capital of Nordica by €30 million at the end of April, but it needs to find out whether it would be illegal under EU law to grant the state aid.
In the first half of July, Estonia was given permission by the European Commission to allocate €20 million to passenger ferry companies operating between Estonia, Finland, and Sweden.
The government also increased their shares in state-owned rail track operator Eesti Raudtee and regional port operator Saarte Liinid by €10 million and €3 million respectively.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste