Welcome to the high-level summary of Covid-19 related actions by the European Union. The details and links below have been split between “Tax Filings Affected”, “Government Employee Wages Benefits Programs” and “Government Loan Programs”; and are extracts from the more detailed information available on the websites of the European Union Praxity Participant firms’ websites, links to which are available at the bottom of this page. Praxity Participant Firms in the European Union are Albert Goodman, Forrester Boyd, Garbutt + Elliott, Mazars, PM+M Solutions for Business, Rouse Partners and Shorts
Tax Filing Affected
On 27 March 2020, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) issued a public statement where they suggested national competent authorities (NCAs) not to undertake supervisory actions against listed entities regarding: Annual financial reports referring to a year-end occurring on or after 31 December 2019 but before 1 April 2020 for a period of two months following the Transparency Directive (TD) deadline; and half-yearly financial reports referring to a reporting period ending on or after 31 December 2019 but before 1 April 2020 for a period of one month following the TD deadline. NCAs in Austria, France, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands adopted the aforementioned ESMA regulation. They applied forbearance powers towards issuers who need to delay publishing the financial statements beyond the statutory deadline. At the same time, issuers should keep the respective NCA and their investors informed of the delay and comply with the requirements under the EU Market Abuse Regulation (596/2014). Malta is also considering to adopt the recommendation of ESMA on the exercise of forbearance powers, for a period of two months. More generously, the United Kingdom (UK), Denmark, Latvia, Poland, allow an extra 3 months for filing the annual reports for listed entities. The new filing deadlines for listed entities in Spain will be 1 month after the end of the emergency state (i.e. after the lockdown period is over), whereas Turkey has postponed filing deadlines with 1-2 months from the original deadline. However, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, have acknowledged the ESMA statement, but did not grant extensions yet. Similarly, for the time being, the original filing deadlines remain unaltered in Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.
Government Employee Wages Benefits Programs
State Aide The Commission stands ready to support Member States in, promoting, in particular short-time work schemes, upskilling and reskilling programmes that have proven effective in the past. European Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme The Commission will furthermore accelerate the preparation of the legislative proposal for a European Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme aiming at supporting Member State policies that preserve jobs and skills. Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Moreover, the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative will facilitate the deployment of the European Social Fund – a fund geared towards supporting workers and healthcare.
€2,4 trillion Recovery Plan Next Generation EU will raise money by temporarily lifting the own resources ceiling to 2.00% of EU Gross National Income, allowing the Commission to use its strong credit rating to borrow €750 billion on the financial markets. This additional funding will be channelled through EU programmes and repaid over a long period of time throughout future EU budgets – not before 2028 and not after 2058. To help do this in a fair and shared way, the Commission proposes a number of new own resources. In addition, in order to make funds available as soon as possible to respond to the most pressing needs, the Commission proposes to amend the current multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 to make an additional €11.5 billion in funding available already in 2020.
On 21 July 2020, the EU leaders agreed on this recovery plan and the multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, leading the way out of the crisis and laying foundations for a modern and more sustainable Europe. The money raised for Next Generation EU will be invested across three pillars: 1. Support to Member States with investments and reforms:
- A new Recovery and Resilience Facility of €560 billion will offer financial support for investments and reforms, including in relation to the green and digital transitions and the resilience of national economies, linking these to the EU priorities. This facility will be embedded in the European Semester. It will be equipped with a grant facility of up to €310 billion and will be able to make up to €250 billion available in loans. Support will be available to all Member States but concentrated on the most affected and where resilience needs are the greatest.
- A €55 billion top-up of the current cohesion policy programmes between now and 2022 under the new REACT-EU initiative to be allocated based on the severity of the socio-economic impacts of the crisis, including the level of youth unemployment and the relative prosperity of Member States.
- A proposal to strenghten the Just Transition Fund up to €40 billion, toassist Member States in accelerating the transition towards climate neutrality.
- A €15 billion reinforcement for theEuropean Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to support rural areas in making the structural changes necessary in line with the European Green Deal and achieving the ambitious targets in line with the new biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies.
- As of September 17th, The European Commission has set out strategic guidance for the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility in its 2021 Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS). The Facility is the key recovery instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will help the EU emerge stronger and more resilient from the current crisis. The Facility will provide an unprecedented €672.5 billion of loans and grants in frontloaded financial support for the crucial first years of the recovery.
- February 20, 2021, The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament's vote today, confirming the political agreement reached on the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) Regulation in December 2020. This marks an important step towards making €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to Member States to support reforms and investments.
2. Kick-starting the EU economy by incentivising private investments:
- A new Solvency Support Instrument will mobilise private resources to urgently support viable European companies in the sectors, regions and countries most affected. It can be operational from 2020 and will have a budget of €31 billion, aiming to unlock €300 billion in solvency support for companies from all economic sectors and prepare them for a cleaner, digital and resilient future.
- Upgrade InvestEU, Europe's flagship investment programme, to a level of €15.3 billion to mobilise private investment in projects across the Union.
- A new Strategic Investment Facility built into InvestEU– to generate investments of up to €150 billion in boosting the resilience of strategic sectors, notably those linked to the green and digital transition, and key value chains in the internal market, thanks to a contribution of €15 billion from Next Generation EU.
3. Addressing the lessons of the crisis:
- A new Health Programme, EU4Health, to strengthen health security and prepare for future health crises with a budget of €9.4 billion.
- A €2 billion reinforcement of rescEU, the Union's Civil Protection Mechanism, which will be expanded and strenghetend to equip the Union to prepare for and respond to future crises.
- An amount of EUR€94.4 billion forHorizon Europe, which will be reinforced to fund vital research in health, resilience and the green and digital transitions.
- Supporting Europe's global partners through an additional €16.5 billion for external action, including humanitarian aid.
- Other EU programmes will be strengthened to align the future financial framework fully with recovery needs and strategic priorities. Other instruments will be reinforced to make the EU budget more flexible and responsive. See government site for more details. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund Mobilised for purposes such as to support dismissed workers and those self-employed under the conditions of the current and future Regulation. Up to EUR 179 million is available in 2020.
Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) The Commission has proposed a new instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). It will allow for a financial assistance up to EUR 100 billion in the form of loans from the EU to affected Member States. The SURE instrument will be available to Member States that need to mobilize significant financial means to fight the negative economic and social consequences of the coronavirus outbreak on their territory. It will provide financial assistance to Member States to address sudden increases in public expenditure for the preservation of employment. Specifically, the SURE instrument will act as a second line of defense, supporting short-time work schemes and similar measures, to help Member States protect jobs and thus employees and self-employed against the risk of unemployment and loss of income.
On 28 September, the European Commission welcomed the Council’s approval to grant €87.4 billion of financial support to 16 Member States under the temporary Support mitigating Unemployment Risks in Emergency (SURE) instrument to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Commission presented proposals to the Council on 24 and 25 August. SURE will provide up to €100 billion in financial support. This follows the finalisation of national approval procedures and signatures by all Member States to provide for the guarantee agreements with the Commission worth a total of €25 billion. The Commission has presented a proposal to the Council for a decision to grant €504 million in financial support to Hungary under the SURE instrument on 7 October. Once the Council approves this proposal, the financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms. See government site for more information.
Coronavirus: Commission proposes to provide €81.4 billion in financial support for 15 Member States under SURE The European Commission has presented proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support of €81.4 billion to 15 Member States under the SURE instrument. SURE is a crucial element of the EU's comprehensive strategy to protect citizens and mitigate the severely negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. It is one of the three safety nets agreed by the European Council to shield workers, businesses and countries. See government site for the list of countries and the amount of support received.
European Commission raises further €9 billion under SURE via second issuance in 2021 The European Commission has issued a €9 billion single tranche bond due in June 2036 under its EU SURE programme to protect jobs and workers, and to mitigate the severely negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. This has been the fifth bond issuance under the programme and the second one in 2021. The bond attracted a strong interest by investors, thanks to which the Commission once again obtained very good pricing conditions, which are being passed on directly to the EU Member States. See government site for more information. Effective Active Support to Employment following the COVID-19 crisis (EASE) As a concrete action under the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Commission presents a Recommendation on Effective Active Support to Employment following the COVID-19 crisis (EASE). It outlines a strategic approach to gradually transition between emergency measures taken to preserve jobs during the pandemic and new measures needed for a job-rich recovery. With EASE, the Commission promotes job creation and job-to-job transitions, including towards the digital and green sectors. EASE provides guidance to Member States on active labour market policies and indicates how Member States could use EU funds to support EASE policies, including those available under NextGenerationEU and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Member States are invited to develop coherent policy packages, combining temporary and permanent measures, to address the labour market challenges triggered by the pandemic, bridge the skill shortages that are likely to hold up economic growth during the recovery, and help every individual to successfully navigate the green and digital transitions. These policy packages should comprise three components: (1) hiring incentives and entrepreneurial support, (2) upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and (3) enhanced support by employment services, with a special focus on young people and workers of all ages in the sectors worst affected by the pandemic. The measures should be based on a mapping of skills needs across economic sectors and regions, and should be complemented by the implementation of the relevant country-specific recommendations adopted by the Council in the European Semester. Social partners should be closely involved in the design and implementation of these policies. See government site for more information.
Government Loan and Support Programs
EU Solidarity Fund
As part of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, the EU Solidarity Fund’s scope has been broadened to include major health emergencies. In particular, it will provide financial aid of up to €800 million to the worst affected countries in this extraordinary situation, alleviating the burden of the immediate response measures, including assistance to the population, medical assistance and equipment, support to vulnerable groups, and measures to contain the spreading of the disease, strengthening preparedness and communication. A EU or accession country is eligible to apply for the funding if its public financial burden for those measures exceeds the threshold of €1.5 billion (2011 prices), or 0.3 % of its GNI. If mobilised, the Fund’s contribution will be between 2.5% and 6% of the total expenditure, depending on magnitude. Any application has to reach the Commission within 12 weeks of the date of the first official action against the emergency. However, in order to ensure an equitable treatment of all COVID-19 applications, the Commission will accept receiving updates/full information within 12 weeks of the entry into force of the amended Regulation i.e. by 24 June 2020. There will be no “first come first served”. A mandatory and simplified form has been prepared specifically for such applications. This will ensure comparability of applications and speed up their processing. See government site here for further details.
EU Solidarity in action: Commission proposes to mobilise almost €530 million to support emergency measures against the coronavirus pandemic Today, the European Commission is putting forward a package of almost €530 million in additional financial support under the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF). It will contribute to the efforts deployed by 17 Member States and 3 accession countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Albania, Montenegro and Serbia) to safeguard public health in fighting the coronavirus. This funding will support part of their public expenditure on medical and personal protective equipment, emergency support to the population, and measures of prevention, monitoring and control of the spread of the disease. See government site here for further details. Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative
Under this new initiative, the Commission proposes to direct EUR 37 billion under Cohesion policy to the fight against the Coronavirus crisis. To this effect, the Commission proposes to relinquish this year its obligation to request Member States to refund unspent pre-financing for the structural funds. This amounts to about EUR 8 billion from the EU budget, which Member States will be able to use to supplement EUR 29 billion of structural funding across the EU. This will effectively increase the amount of investment in 2020 and help to front-load the use of the as yet unallocated EUR 28 billion of cohesion policy funding within the 2014-2020 cohesion policy programmes. The Commission calls upon the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly approve this proposal, so that it can be adopted within the next two weeks.
Recovery and Resilience Facility The RRF will play a crucial role in helping Europe recover from the economic and social impact of the pandemic and will help to make the EU's economies and societies more resilient and secure the green and digital transitions. The RRF will make €312.5 billion available in grants and up to €360 billion available in loans to Member States to support the implementation of reforms and investments. This will provide a sizeable fiscal impulse and help mitigate the risk of divergences in the euro area and the EU. The implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility will also have important implications for national fiscal policies. Expenditure financed by grants from the RRF will provide a substantial boost to the economy in the coming years, without increasing national deficits and debt. It will also spur Member States to improve the growth-friendliness of their fiscal policies. Public investment funded by RRF grants should come on top of existing levels of public investment. Only if the RRF finances additional productive and high quality investment, will it contribute to the recovery and lift potential growth, in particular when combined with structural reforms in line with the country-specific recommendations. Member States should make best use of the unique window of opportunity provided by the RRF to support the economic recovery, foster higher potential growth and improve their underlying fiscal positions in the medium to long term. See government site for more details. State aid: Commission approves Irish loan guarantee scheme mobilising €2 billion support for companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak The support will take the form of State guarantees on new loans provided by financial intermediaries to companies with up to 499 employees. The measure aims at enhancing access to external financing for these companies, thus helping them ensure the continuation of their activities. See government site for more details. State aid: Commission approves €2 billion Italian guarantee scheme to support trade credit insurance market in the context of the coronavirus outbreak Italy notified to the Commission a State guarantee scheme for the reinsurance of trade credit risks to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme will be administered by SACE, the Italian Export Credit Agency. Trade credit insurance protects companies supplying goods and services against the risk of nonpayment by their clients. Given the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the risk of insurers not being willing to issue this insurance has become higher. The Italian scheme, with an estimated budget of €2 billion, will ensure that trade credit insurance continues to be available to all companies, avoiding the need for buyers of goods or services to pay in advance, therefore reducing their immediate liquidity needs. On 30 September, the EIB Group consisting of the European Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank agreed with Commerzbank on a new favourable lending scheme, providing up to €500 million to German small and medium enterprises. The financing aims to mitigate the impact of the crisis on smaller businesses, and will allow smaller and mid-cap companies as well as self-employed individuals to continue to operate. The transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which EIB Group and the European Commission are strategic partners to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy. On 6 October, the European Investment Fund and Raiffeisenbank signed a €10 million guarantee agreement to support small and medium private and public enterprises in the culture and creative sectors in Bulgaria. The agreement provides loans with better terms and conditions to small and medium enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis, helping then to sustain jobs. The agreement is backed by the Commission's Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility, and also supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments
Team Europe: The European Union disburses €25 million to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis in The Gambia - As part of the Team Europe global package, these funds contribute to the recovery from the pandemic and also support the transition towards democracy and medium-term development objectives. European Commission issues first emission of EU SURE social bonds - The European Commission issued a €17 billion inaugural social bond under the EU SURE instrument to help protect jobs and keep people in work. The issuing consisted of two bonds, with €10 billion due for repayment in October 2030 and €7 billion due for repayment in 2040. There was very strong investor interest in this highly rated instrument, and the bonds were more than 13 times oversubscribed, resulting in favourable pricing terms for both bonds. See government site for more details.
The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Dutch scheme of around €1.5 billion - to compensate companies providing regional and long-distance public passenger transport services in the Netherlands for the damage suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and the emergency containment measures introduced in the Netherlands to limit the spread of the virus. EU budget: European Commission welcomes agreement on €1.8 trillion package to help build greener, more digital and more resilient Europe - The European Commission has today welcomed the agreement between the European Parliament and EU Member States in the Council on Europe's next long-term budget and NextGenerationEU, the temporary recovery instrument. Once adopted, the package of a total of €1.8 trillion will be the largest package ever financed through the EU budget. It will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe, which will be greener, more digital, more resilient and better fit for the current and forthcoming challenges.
Commission disburses €14 billion under SURE to nine Member States The European Commission has disbursed €14 billion to Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia and Spain in the second instalment of financial support under the SURE instrument. See FAQ for more information. The European Commission has approved a €625 million Italian scheme to support tour operators and travel agencies in Italy affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Italy notified to the Commission, under the State aid Temporary Framework, a scheme consisting in direct grants equal to a percentage (between 5% and 20%) of the difference between (i) the amounts of turnover and fees registered from 23 February 2020 to 31 July 2020 and (ii) the amount of turnover and fees for the corresponding period of 2019. State aid: Commission gives green light to the Pan-European Guarantee Fund to enable up to €200 billion financing for companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak in 21 Member States* The European Commission found the creation of a €25 billion Pan-European Guarantee Fund managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with EU State aid rules. The Fund is expected to mobilise up to €200 billion of additional financing to support mainly small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) affected by the outbreak in the 21 participating Member States. State aid: Commission approves €300 million German aid scheme to support transition to sustainable local public transport The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €300 million German scheme to support innovative projects aimed at strengthening sustainable local public transport through investment and innovation. The scheme will contribute to the achievement of the EU's environmental and climate goals, without unduly distorting competition. State aid: Commission approves €202 million Croatian scheme to support companies in the tourism and sports sectors in the context of coronavirus outbreak The European Commission has approved an approximately €202 million (HRK 1.525 billion) Croatian State aid scheme to support companies of all sizes active in the sports and tourism sectors (and in directly related ones, such as accommodations, restaurants) and , affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid.
State aid: Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme to support organisers of events affected by coronavirus outbreak Following the approval of several Austrian State aid schemes to support companies facing economic difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak, Austria notified to the Commission a scheme to further support event organisers under the Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, Austria plans to provide economic assistance to all undertakings (including self-employed individuals, associations and institutions) that will organise events taking place in Austria between 1 February 2021 and 31 December 2022 and that will have to be cancelled or organised with significant restrictions, due to the coronavirus outbreak. State aid: Commission approves €1.9 billion Polish scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants and exemptions from payment of contributions:
- Aid in the form of grants will be available to companies that declare a decrease: (i) in revenues in October or in November 2020 by at least 40% compared to revenues in the same period of 2019; (ii) in income in one of the three months preceding the application for aid by at least 40% compared to the income obtained in the previous month or in the same month of the previous year.
- Aid in the form of exemptions from payment of contributions (e.g. social or health insurance contributions) for the period from 1 to 30 November 2020 will be available to companies that declare a decrease in revenues in November 2020 of at least 40% in comparison to revenues in November 2019.
State aid: Commission approves €12 billion German umbrella scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak Under the scheme, companies from all sectors will be entitled to compensation for damages suffered during the lockdown periods imposed by the German government in March/April and November/December 2020 to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The compensation, in the form of direct grants, covers either up to 100% of the actual damage incurred during the lockdown periods, or 75 % of the turnover in the reference months of November and December 2019, whichever amount is lower. State aid: Commission approves €325 million public support to provide schools in Italy with very high internet speeds The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €325 million of public support to connect 12,000 schools in Italy to very high-speed internet. The schools that will benefit from the measure are located in areas with insufficient connectivity in Italy, in line with the EU broadband connectivity objectives.
State aid: Commission approves €300 million Austrian scheme for package travel organisers and facilitators of linked travel services in the context of the coronavirus outbreak Austria notified to the Commission a €300 million State guarantee scheme to ensure that sufficient resources are available to refund consumers for cancelled travel services should package travel organisers or facilitators of linked travel services become insolvent. Under Austrian law, implementing the Package Travel Directive, package travel organisers and facilitators of linked travel services are required, by means of appropriate insurance, to ensure that travellers will be reimbursed for sums they have already paid (such as advance payments and residual payments) for services which were not ultimately provided, either fully or in part, including in the case of insolvency of the organiser.
State aid: Commission approves €1.4 billion Swedish scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak Sweden notified to the Commission an approximately €1.4 billion (SEK 14 billion) scheme to further support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak under the Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the public support will take the form of direct grants. The scheme will be open to companies active in all sectors except the financial sector. The scheme covers three eligible periods: (i) August–October 2020, (ii) November–December 2020, and (iii) January–February 2021. The aid will be granted to companies that suffered a turnover decline exceeding 40% in the period August-October 2020 or 30% in each of the periods November-December 2020 and January-February 2021, compared to the same periods in 2019. The beneficiaries will receive grants covering up to 70% of their uncovered fixed costs during the eligible periods. In the case of micro and small enterprises, the grants will cover up to 75% of the uncovered fixed costs with regard to the period August-October 2020, or 90% in the other periods. State aid: Commission approves €40 million Italian aid measure to support coronavirus related research and development activities Italy notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a €40 million aid measure to support coronavirus related R&D activities by ReiThera S.r.l., a medium-sized biotechnology company located in the Lazio region. The public support will take the form of a direct grant.
State aid: Commission approves French guarantee scheme mobilising up to €20 billion support from private investors for companies affected by coronavirus outbreak France notified to the Commission a guarantee scheme to support companies in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The support takes the form of a State guarantee on private investment vehicles, funded by private investors, that will acquire participating loans distributed by commercial banks as well as subordinated bonds, thereby improving their capital position. The scheme will be accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises and midcaps on the basis of the submission of an investment plan and minimum credit ratings. The French scheme is expected to mobilise up to €20 billion of private long term funding to support for companies affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The State guarantee will cover up to 30% of the portfolio of participating loans and subordinated bonds acquired by the private investment vehicles and is calibrated to ensure that the risk borne by the private investors remains limited, in line with an investment grade credit rating, thus incentivising private investors (such as insurance companies, pension funds and asset management companies) to channel funding to the real economy. The participating loans and subordinated bonds eligible under the scheme must: (i) be issued before 30 June 2022, (ii) be used to finance investments and not pre-existing debt, (iii) have a maturity of 8 years, with a 4-year grace period on principal repayments. State aid: Commission approves €2 billion French scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak France notified to the Commission a scheme, with a budget of approximately €2 billion, to further support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak under the Temporary Framework. The scheme will be open to all companies, irrespective of their size and of the sector where they operate (with the exception of the financial sector). The public support will take the form of direct grants. The measure will enable the French authorities to support companies that suffered a monthly turnover decline between January 2021 and November 2021 of at least 30% compared to the same period prior to the coronavirus outbreak (January 2019 – November 2019), by helping them cover the losses incurred during that period. The amount of aid that each beneficiary will be eligible to receive will be calculated on the basis of the so-called excédent brut d'exploitation (EBE), a financial figure included in a company's monthly accounts which reflects its uncovered fixed costs. The EBE will have to be verified by certified accountants before submitting the application for aid. The aid will help the beneficiaries pay 70% (90% in case of micro and small companies) of their fixed costs that are not covered by revenues, up to a maximum of €10 million per undertaking. State aid: Commission approves €511 million Italian scheme to compensate commercial rail passenger operators for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €511 million in Italian support to compensate providers of commercial, long-distance rail passenger services for the damage suffered between 8 March and 30 June 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that Italy had to implement to limit the spread of the coronavirus. EU solidarity in action: Commission proposes €86.7 million for the recent natural disasters in France and Greece Today, the European Commission is proposing a financial support of €86.7 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to provide relief to the population of several regions in France and Greece hit by natural disasters in 2020. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira said: “Last week the Commission proposed an important package of support from the EU Solidarity Fund to Member States coping with the consequences of the health emergency, including France and Greece. Today, we are also lending a helping hand to the populations of those two countries that have suffered from natural disasters in 2020. This is the face of EU solidarity: making sure that no one is left behind.” The aid package is composed as follows:
- €59.3 million for France, following the severe damages caused by the storm Alex in Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur region in October 2020;
- €21.6 million for Greece in relation to the damages caused by the Mediterranean Cyclone Ianos in September 2020;
- €3.3 million for Greece's Sterea Ellada region heavily affected by the floods of August 2020;
- €2.5 million for Greece to support emergency and recovery operations in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in the islands of Samos, Ikaria and Chios in October 2020. France and Greece have already received advance payments for the four regional disasters.
State aid: Commission approves €146.5 million Austrian support in favour of companies joining research and innovation project in microelectronics The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €146.5 million in Austrian support in favour of three companies joining the existing Important Project of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI') in microelectronics approved by the Commission in 2018. The public funding is expected to unlock an additional €530 million of private investments, i.e. more than three and a half times the public support. State aid: Commission approves €270 million Italian measure to support rail freight and commercial passenger operators affected by coronavirus outbreak The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €270 million Italian measure supporting both the rail freight sector and the rail commercial passenger sector in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure aims at preserving the competitiveness of rail passenger operations and maintaining a stable, reliable and sufficient service offer. The measure, with a total budget of €270 million, enables Italy to relieve rail freight operators and rail commercial passenger operators of part of the costs related to track access charges (i.e. the charges that railway companies have to pay for the use of the rail network) during the period from 10 March to 31 December 2020. This support helps rail operators in Italy to cope with the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak, preventing the loss of market shares to road operators and preserving the benefits of the shift of traffic from road to rail achieved prior to the coronavirus outbreak. SURE: Commission proposes additional €3.7 billion to six Member States to protect jobs and incomes The Commission has proposed to the Council to grant an additional €3.7 billion of financial assistance to six Member States under SURE, the €100 billion instrument designed to protect jobs and incomes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposals follow formal requests for additional financial assistance under SURE submitted by Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta on top of the support that the Council has already approved. Commission disburses further €13 billion under SURE to six Member States The European Commission has disbursed €13 billion to six EU Member States in the sixth instalment of financial support under the SURE instrument. This is the third disbursement in 2021. As part of today's operations, Czechia has received €1 billion, Belgium €2.2 billion, Spain €4.06 billion, Ireland €2.47 billion, Italy €1.87 billion and Poland €1.4 billion. This is the first time that Ireland has received funding under the instrument. The other five EU countries have already benefitted from loans under SURE. State aid: Commission approves up to €4 billion French measure to recapitalise Air France The European Commission has approved French plans to grant up to €4 billion for the recapitalisation of Air France through its Holding company. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The French recapitalisation measure Air France is a major network airline operating in France. It is owned by the Air France-KLM Holding company, in which the French state holds a 14.3% participation. With a fleet of over 300 planes, Air France plays a very important role in the French economy, in terms of employment and connectivity for many French regions including those overseas (Départements et Régions d'outre-mer “DOM-TOM”). In 2019, the Air France-KLM airline group reported an annual operating profit of approximately €750 million. However, as a result of the travel restrictions introduced by France and by many destination countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Air France and its Holding company have suffered a significant reduction of their activities, leading to major operating losses. Team Europe increased Official Development Assistance to €66.8 billion as the world's leading donor in 2020 The EU and its 27 Member States have significantly increased their Official Development Assistance (ODA) for partner countries to €66.8 billion in 2020. This is a 15% increase in nominal terms and equivalent to 0.50% of collective Gross National Income (GNI), up from 0.41% in 2019, according to preliminary figures published today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC). The EU and its Member States thereby confirm their position as the world's leading donor, providing 46% of global assistance from the EU and other DAC donors, and have taken a major leap forward towards meeting the commitment to provide at least 0.7% of collective GNI as ODA by 2030. Overall, 17 Member States increased their ODA in nominal terms in 2020 compared to 2019, with the strongest nominal increases coming from Germany (+€3,310 million), France (+€1,499 million) and Sweden (+€921 million), and further increases coming from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The EU institutions' ODA (meaning the European Commission and the EIB) increased by €3.7 billion (27%) overall in 2020 in nominal terms. 15 Member States improved their ODA relative to their GNI by at least 0.01 percentage points: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. In Cyprus and Greece, ODA as a share of GNI decreased by at least 0.01 percentage points. NextGenerationEU: Commission gets ready to raise up to €800 billion to fund the recovery The Commission has today taken steps to ensure that borrowing under the temporary recovery instrument NextGenerationEU will be financed on the most advantageous terms for EU Member States and their citizens. The Commission will use a diversified funding strategy to raise up to around €800 billion in current prices until 2026. This approach, which will be in line with the best practices of sovereign issuers, will enable the Commission to raise the needed volumes in a smooth and efficient way. This will also attract investors to Europe and strengthen the international role of the euro.
State aid: Commission approves €1.9 billion Czech scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak Czechia notified to the Commission a scheme, with a budget of approximately €1.9 billion (CZK 50 billion), to further support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak under the Temporary Framework. The scheme will be open to all companies of all sizes and active in all sectors, except the financial sector. The public support will compensate part of the uncovered fixed costs incurred by the beneficiaries in a period between March 2020 and December 2021 and will take the form of direct grants. Eligible companies must have sustained a turnover decline of at least 30% in the relevant period, compared to before the coronavirus outbreak. The companies will be entitled to receive support amounting to a maximum of 70% of their fixed costs (up to 90% of their fixed costs if they are micro or small enterprises). The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the economic difficulties and the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing due to the restrictive measures imposed by the Czech government to limit the spread of the coronavirus. State aid: Commission approves €500 million Greek scheme to support food service companies affected by coronavirus outbreak Greece notified to the Commission, under the State aid Temporary Framework, a €500 million scheme that will provide support to food service companies, such as restaurants and mobile food service, event catering, beverage serving and other food service activities, affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme is co-financed by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will be open to companies of all sizes that experienced a turnover decline of more than 30% over 2020, compared to 2019. The aid will take the form of direct grants, with each grant amounting to up to 7% of the beneficiary's annual turnover. The scheme intends to provide beneficiaries with working capital for acquiring raw materials necessary for their activities. The Commission found that the scheme notified by Greece is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per beneficiary, and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. See more state aid programs issued at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/home/en?pagenumber=1#news-block
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