EU approves 50 billion euro Belgian state aid for coronavirus-hit firms

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission, in charge of EU state aid rules, approved on Saturday a 50 billion euro Belgian loan guarantee scheme that aims to support companies during the coronavirus pandemic.

The support, in the form of state guarantees on new short-term loans, will be accessible to all companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed traders.

The scheme aims to help businesses affected by the current crisis cover their liquidity needs and stay afloat.

"It will help ... businesses cover their immediate needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak," Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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