European Union institutions responses

Immediately after the outbreak of COVID-19, EU institutions adopted measures to overcome the economic downturn it will bring. These are mostly related to providing access to health supplies, liquidity to companies, and reliable information to the population. Please find below a recent compilation of measures that may serve you as regional economic development practitioner to provide support to stakeholders in your territory. 

€46 billion for Bavarian enterprises

The European Commission has approved German plans to mobilise €46 billion of financing at the level of the German State of Bavaria to provide guarantees and invest through debt and equity instruments in enterprises hit by the coronavirus outbreak there. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of guarantees, as well as subsidised debt instruments such as subordinated loans, recapitalisation instruments, and hybrid capital instruments. The scheme primarily targets SMEs. More information.

€62 million Romanian loan guarantee

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a Romanian loan guarantee of up to around €62 million to support the Romanian airline Blue Air. This action aims to compensate the airline for the damages suffered due to national Covid-19 restrictions. In this light, around €28 million in public guarantees will be directed to damages alongside €34 million in rescue aid in the form of a public guarantee on loans intended to address liquidity needs. More information.

Back to normality soon?

As part of its Coronavirus Global Response, the European Commission has announced a contribution of €400 million in guarantees to support the COVAX Facility for equitable access to affordable Covid-19 vaccines everywhere for all who need them. The COVAX Facility, co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. More information.

Capital Markets Recovery Package

The European Commission has adopted a Capital Markets Recovery Package as part of the Commission’s overall coronavirus recovery strategy. This package contains targeted adjustments to the Prospectus Regulation, MiFID II, and securitisation rules. It identifies changes to capital market rules, which will help investing much more in the economy, allow for the rapid re-capitalisation of companies and increase banks’ capacity to finance the recovery. More information

Commission approves French “umbrella” scheme

The European Commission has approved a €5 billion French “umbrella” scheme to encourage research and development, testing and upscaling of infrastructure, and production of coronavirus-related products. The scheme aims to address medical R&D concerning vaccines, medicaments, hospital and medical equipment, and protective clothing and equipment, among others. The initiative will also contribute to speeding up the construction of production facilities for these products, as well as the provision of necessary raw materials and ingredients. More information.

Commission welcomes ‘Best Practices’

The European Commission has welcomed a list of ‘Best Practices’ in accordance with the financial sector, and consumer and business organisations, to help further mitigate the impact of Covid-19. This list of best practices reflects several issues such as payment moratoria and legitimate insurance claims, among others. The goal is to guarantee especially smaller companies can access the financial support they urgently need. More information.

Coronavirus and seasonal workers

The European Commission has presented new guidelines to guarantee the protection of seasonal workers in the EU in the context of the pandemic. They address national authorities, labour inspectorates, and social partners to ensure the rights, health, and safety of seasonal workers. These guidelines include aspects such as: the right of seasonal workers to work in an EU Member State, suitable living and working conditions, making sure workers are aware of their rights, and social security aspects.  More information.

Coronavirus Global Response mobilisation

Thanks to EU’s global coronavirus response, an EU humanitarian airlift operation consisting of three flights to Lima, Peru is delivering more than 4 tonnes of life-saving materials to humanitarian organizations active in the country. The EU has announced €30.5 million in humanitarian assistance to support the most vulnerable in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020. EU funding will help increase local emergency response capacities, implement early warning systems, and facilitate global access to safe sanitation. More information

Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII)

The European Commission has proposed a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to use cohesion policy in order to respond flexibly to the rapidly emerging needs in the most exposed sectors, such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets, as well as to help the most affected territories in Member States. To this effect, the European Commission has proposed assigning €37 billion of European public investment to tackle the consequences of the pandemic. More information

Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus

This initiative will complement the first package of measures with a similar name by introducing greater flexibilityThis will be done by freeing up unused money from European Structural and Investment Funds (Regional Development, Social, and Cohesion Funds) in order for it to be fully taken advantage of. Furthermore, additional support will be given to the most deprived by changing the rules for both the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. More information.

Covid-19 call for expression of interest

DG Regio has launched a call for expressions of interest in pilot interregional innovation partnerships. Its objective is to support business investment projects accelerating commercialisation and the scaling up of interregional innovation. Those who apply should be a partnership made up of statutory regional authorities and their regional innovation ecosystems. The deadline for applying is the 7th of September. More information.

Digital technologies and Covid19

Member States have agreed on a set of technical specifications, with the support of the Commission, to guarantee secure exchange of information between national contact tracing apps. This will apply to most of tracing apps that were already – or are about to be – launched in the EU. This is a significant step towards interoperability of these apps as Member States start lifting travel restrictions to crossing borders, and should allow them to work automatically upon entry into another country.  More information.

EC continues its solidarity

The European Commission has mobilised another €50 million in humanitarian aid to support the increased need for humanitarian support caused by the coronavirus pandemic globally. The new funding follows increased calls from humanitarian organisations, including the UN Global Appeal. The new funding will help vulnerable people facing major humanitarian crises to access health services, water, and sanitation. The financing targets regions such as the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, the Central African Republic, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and others.  More information.

EC grants for treatments and diagnostics

Following the fast-track call for Development of therapeutics and diagnostics combatting coronavirus infections launched through the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI), 8 large-scale projects have been selected to benefit from the available means of funding of €117 billion. SMEs represents 20% of the successful proposals. The European Commission has increased its commitment to €72 million compared to the initially planned amount of €45 million. The IMI is a public-private partnership between the EU and the European pharmaceutical industry. More information.

EC recommends Member States to show more transparency in restrictions

The current discrepancies between national criteria for introducing measures to restrict movement and travel in the European Union is wide. For this reason, the EC proposes that each MS should respect several criteria before introducing movement restrictions to ensure transparency. For any given area, they have requested the reporting of the total number of newly notified Covid-19 cases per 100 000 people in a 14-day period, the percentage of tests coming out positive over a 7-day period, and the number of tests carried out per 100 000 people in that week. More information.

EC talks concluded on purchasing Covid-19 vaccine

The European Commission has concluded exploratory talks with a pharmaceutical company to purchase a potential vaccine against Covid-19. The potential contract with Sanofi-GSK* company would be an Advance Purchase Agreement financed by the Emergency Support Instrument. It is envisaged that, once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective, the Commission will set up a contractual framework for the purchase of 300 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States. More information.

EU COVID-19 Data Platform

The European Commission and its partners have established an EU COVID-19 Data Platform to advance research efforts by quickly gathering and sharing comprehensive coronavirus research data. The Platform will enable researchers to store and share information, such as DNA sequences, protein structures, data from preclinical research, and clinical trials, as well as epidemiological data. This initiative greatly speeds up research and discovery, accelerating an effective response to the current troubles. More information

EU Emergency Support Instrument

In order to support the healthcare systems of EU Member States, the Commission plan – in areas where action is best taken at EU level – to quickly complement ongoinnational efforts. This may include procurement and distribution of medical supplies, as well as facilitating the transfer of patients in border regions. To finance this, €3 billion will be mobilised from the EU budget, of which €2.7 billion will be provided through the Emergency Support Instrument and €300 million though the rescEU initiative. More information.

EU funds Balkan SMEs

The EU will boost youth employment in the Western Balkans with funding for Small and Medium Enterprises. Thanks to this EU financial support amounting to €10 million in guarantees, businesses offering employment or training to young people in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo will benefit from €85 million in loans. Around 1 200 businesses will be able to access these loans, enabling them to create 1 300 vocational training courses, internships, and job opportunities for young people. More information.

European Commission banking package

The European Commission has adopted a banking package to support bank lending to both households and businesses across the EU. The initiative’s objective is to ensure continuity in banks’ lending so as to mitigate the ongoing economic storm. Moreover, the package includes “quick fix” amendments to various EU frameworks, which will enable banks to keep liquidity flowing and so allow households and businesses to access necessary financing. More information.

EU Roadmap for Phasing out Measures

Cooperation between EU institutions is essential to define a roadmap for the phasing-out of the measures put in place for containing the epidemic. These short-term measures have helped to restrict the spread of Covid-19, but a strategic long-term recovery plan is needed in order to exit the ongoing socioeconomic crisis. In order to revitalise the economy and get back onto the path of sustainable grow, the Commission will develop a recovery plan based on the EU budget. More information.

EU Support to Healthcare Systems

The European Council has quickly approved the Commission’s proposal to activate the EU’s Emergency Support Instrument as a means of assistance to healthcare systems in Member States. The funding channels an amount of €2,7 billion that will be used to distribute protective gear, transfer patients to hospitals with free capacity, and to develop medication and testing methods.  The Emergency Instrument will be used jointly with other tools that are already operative. More information.

EU worldwide pledging marathon

The European Union and partnering health organisations have launched a worldwide pledging marathon to collect funds for the global medical response to coronavirus.  Countries, philanthropic organisations, and businesses around the world are invited to participate to reach the target amount of €7.5 billion. The fund will channel money into three areas: diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.  More information.

European Vaccine Strategy 

The development of an effective vaccine against Covid19 is one of the top priorities of European CommissionThanks to a common joint action with Member States, the  Commission has presented European Vaccine Strategy. This will ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines for Member States and equitable and affordable prices for the citizensThe Commission will support efforts to accelerate the development and availability of vaccines in a timeframe of between 12 and 18 months. More information.

Global pledging response to Covid-19 

Following the European Commission’s world pledging marathon, an amount of €7.4 billion has been raised through the contributions of donors worldwide. Countries, corporations, and philanthropic organisations expressed solidarity and highlighted the importance of being united to develop, produce, and deploy vaccines, treatments, diagnostic tests, and medical systems to stop the spread of the illness. More information.

Horizon 2020: Commission additional call

With the aim of finding medical solutions to Covid-19 as soon as possible, the European Commission has mobilised an additional €112 million from Horizon 2020 funding. The new call looks for complementary innovative actions that would complement earlier actions to develop diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines by strengthening capacity to produce, deploying available solutions, and addressing pressing needs. It will also help in understanding the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the epidemic. More Information.

How to fight disinformation

Considering the amount of fake news that is circulating online, the European Commission has invited its citizens and businesses tinform themselves through the relevant websites of the European Institutions and of international organisations. Being well informed helps all of society to respond healthily to Covid-19. In the article below, you will find more information and a series of facts shared by the Commission in relation to badly and maliciously reported news. More information

Impact of Cohesion Policy in regions

EU Cohesion Policy is playing a key role in improving healthcare systems across regions, especially during the pandemic. The financing resources delivered by the EU are helping countries and individual regions to face the novel health emergency. One clear example is the case of Bulgaria: 237 emergency medical centres have been modernised throughout the country, 400 medical vehicles have been purchased, and 182 ambulances have been equipped with modern instruments. More information.

Legal basis for the financing instrument Next Generation EU

The following article illustrates the legal basis for the exceptional financing instrument designed to enable Member States to recover from the outbreak, called Next Generation EU. This will see the EU borrow money in order to allocate funds to various programmes in order to help stimulate an economic recoveryGiven the current situation, borrowing is seen as a justified means to attain the Union’s objectives. It must be in line with the principle of budgetary discipline. More information.

New Belgian Innovative Hub

Thanks to the support of EU Cohesion Policy, several projects have been financed to find solutions to combat the spread of coronavirus. In this respect, the so-called “FabLab” of TRAKK, the Belgian Innovative City Lab in Namur,  is working to determine a functional prototype; Namur developers are producing a syringe pump to inject the right dose of medication, which will help hospitals as they begin experiencing shortages of syringes because of their high demand for Covid-19 treatment. More information

New investments in new projects

The European Commission will support 23 new research projects with €128 million in response to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The funding is part of the Commission’s €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response. The funding will allow researchers to address the pandemic and its consequences by strengthening the industrial capacity to manufacture and deploy readily available solutions, develop medical technologies and digital tools, and improve understanding of behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. More information

Next generation EU recovery plan

The European Commission has proposed a new recovery instrument worth €750 billion named “Next Generation EU”. This would be embedded within a powerful, modern, revamped, long-term EU budget to enable Europe to get back on its feet. Complemented by national efforts, the EU budget – or Multiannual Financial Framework – aims to reinforce a fair socio-economic recovery and restart the Single Market. Investments will be particularly directed towards the green and digital transitions which are key to Europe’s future prosperity and resilience. More information.

Member States Smart Connection

Cooperation between EU institutions is essential to define a roadmap for the phasing-out of the measures put in place for containing the epidemic. These short-term measures have helped to restrict the spread of Covid-19, but a strategic long-term recovery plan is needed in order to exit the ongoing socioeconomic crisis. In order to revitalise the economy and get back onto the path of sustainable grow, the Commission will develop a recovery plan based on the EU budget. More information.

Minimum wages across Europe

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has adopted the opinion Decent minimum wages across Europe following the European Parliament’s request for an exploratory opinion. Following the European Commission’s request to consider proposing a legal instrument to ensure that every EU worker is entitled to a minimum wage, the EESC said fair minimum wages could help reduce poverty among the working poor and allow a decent standard of living if combined with person-centred, integrated, active inclusion policies. More information

Mobilisation of Emergency Support Instrument

Via an Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), EU Member States are now able to apply for additional funding to transport essential goods, medical teams and patients affected by the coronavirus. In these terms, €220 million has been mobilised to supporthis transport, by financing the cargo transport of assistance and relief items to Member StatesThe financing also applies to the transfer of patients and medical personnel between EU Member States and neighbouring countries. More information.

Reconfiguring EU state aid rule

The Commission, intending to improve the interplay between EU funding and state aid rules, is inviting the Member States and other stakeholders to comment on an updated proposal to simplify rules for State Aid combined with EU support. The proposal aims to remove complexities, for example no longer requiring states to give prior notification of state aid measures. This proposal is an attempt to address the key concerns raised by stakeholders in the first consultation. More Information

Standing together against Covid-19

Global solidarity action is getting stronger in pursuit of a common goal: to find innovative solutions to defeat the virus and craft the best strategies to revive the world economyDuring a pledging summit on the 27th of June, G-countries and others from around the world generously contributed to this goal. Furthermore, significant commitments have been made by philanthropic organisations and corporations. More information.

State Aid: Finnair recapitalisation

The European Commission has approved €286 million to recapitalise Finnair – the Finnish national airlineAirlines have been particularly affected by the pandemicFinnair is essential to the domestic and international connectivity needs of Finland. The national economy, many jobs and the development of foreign trade count on these services. The initiative aims to encourage market investments and limit the distortion of competition.  More information.

State Aid goes to Austrian NPOs

The European Commission has approved a €665 million Austrian financing scheme to support active Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) and their related entities due to the coronavirus outbreak. This financing will be granted by a fund established by the Austrian Government for this specific purpose and will be extended to all types and sizes of NPOs. The aid will be limited depending on the area each organisation works in. More information

State Aid: support to Germany

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €6 billion German scheme to support companies providing regional and local public transport services in Germany for the damage suffered due to the coronavirus and the emergency containment measures introduced in Germany to limit the spread of the virus. Through the scheme, transport companies will have the right to compensation as direct grants for damages incurred between the 1st of March and 31st of August 2020. More information.

State Aid Temporary Framework 

The Commission has also adopted a Temporary Framework to economically support Member States during the COVID-19 outbreak. This allows them to ensure sufficient liquidity – that is, enough cash to meet immediate needs – to all types of businesses, particularly to SMEs. In such a way they may continue their activities during and after COVID-19. Within this Temporary Framework, countries may set up schemes to grant up to €800,000 per company to address its urgent liquidity needs. More information

SURE Instrument: €81.4 billion financial support for Member States

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 part of the EU’s comprehensive strategy to safeguard citizens and mitigate the socio-economic impact of Covid-19. This financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to MSs to alleviate sudden increases in public expenditure and preserve employment. More information

Summer 2020 economic forecast

The economic impact of the lockdown is more severe than expected. According to the Summer 2020 Economic Forecast, the EU economy will face a deep recession this year due to the pandemic. Despite the comprehensive policy response at both EU and national levels, the Euro area economy will shrink by 8.7% in 2020 and grow by 6.1% in 2021. Meanwhile, the EU economy is forecast to suffer an 8.3% recession in 2020 and grow by 5.8% in 2021. More information

SURENew instrument to protect workplaces

The European Commission has launched a new proposal to protect jobs. Within the solidarity instrument called SURE, the Commission has proposed extending loans on favourable terms of up to €100 billion in total to fund so-called “Kurzarbeit”, or “short-time work”, schemes.  Such schemes allow companies experiencing difficulties to receive compensation from the state for having to reduce the hours worked by their employees. In this way they encourage managers not to fire staff, leading to decreased economic disruption for both employers and employees. More information.

Team Europe: Global Response

The Team Europe package – the global EU response to the pandemic – will support partner countries and fragile populations.  This new financing approach combines resources from the EU, its Member States, and other supportive institution, such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The financing package is of €15,6 billion.  The EU’s aim here is to address partner countries’ short-term needs and their longer-term socioeconomic structure. More information.

There will be plasma: EC supports blood treatment for Covid-19

The European Commission is strengthening support for convalescent plasma treatment to combat Covid-19. This involves the harvesting of blood plasma from recovered patients who have antibodies for donation to current sufferers. More than 200 blood-collection services around the EU have been invited to apply for funding for the purchase of equipment for plasmapheresis (separating plasma from blood cells). Under this Emergency Support Instrument, grants worth a up to €40 million in total will go to public and NGO blood-collection services authorised to collect plasma.  More information.

Tourism and Transport: new package

The Commission has introduced a new package of guidelines to better address the post-COVID recovery and ensure the reopening of the tourism sector and allow citizens to travel across Europe, by taking into consideration necessary health precautions. The package is based on several rules and principles to illustrate how to travel safely and supporting measures for SMEs. Moreover, the guidelines recommend the Member States to gradually re-establish connections with each other. More information.

The ‘Global Goal: Unite For Our Future’ campaign 

The European Commission, jointly with the international advocacy organisation Global Citizen, has launched the ‘Global Goal: Unite For Our Future’ campaign, to be held on Saturday the 27th of June. The campaign will culminate in a global pledging summit and concert to mobilise further funding to develop and deploy coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments. The campaign’s intention is to make affordable vaccines everywhere, for everyone who needs them, and enable the world to overcome this pandemic and avoid anotherMore information.

Coronavirus’ impact on SMEs

A Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises has been carried out in the eurozone, covering the period of October 2019 to March 2020. It shows that the financial situation of euro-area SMEs showed a general deterioration. The SMEs surveyed signalled a decline in turnover and a sharp deterioration in their profits in net terms. The Survey points out that SMEs’ need for bank loans is increased, and that they are encountering obstacles to accessing external financing. More information

Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme

The European Central Bank (ECB) has proposed €750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme in response to the pandemic. In practice, this means that it will increase the amount of money it lends to national governments in the Eurozone to support their economies. The ECB has committed to do everything necessary and to increase the money made available through this programme as much and for as long as needed. More information.

€15 million for smart charging technology

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and The Mobility House, a leading German technology company and solution provider for vehicle-charging services, have signed a €15 million financing agreement to promote the inclusion of electric vehicles into energy markets. The loan will enable the Munich-based technology company to proceed with R&D for its intelligent Charging and Energy Management system. The transaction is financed by the InnovFin Energy Demonstration Project facility, under the Horizon 2020 programme. More information.

€200 million for Italian SMEs and mid-caps

UniCredit and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have agreed to mobilise new funds aimed at encouraging the recovery of the industries hard-hit by Covid-19.  The agreement engages the EIB to allocate €200 million to UniCredit for onward lending to SMEs (companies with up to 250 employees) and mid-caps (up to 3 000). The funding is intended for companies all over Italy and in all production sectors: agriculture, handicrafts, industry, commerce, tourism, and services. More information

€300 million to Autonomous Province of Trento

EIB funds worth €300 million are going to the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy) for sustainable projects and post-Covid reconstruction. The financing will address the investments of municipalities and local bodies via Cassa del Trentino, which is the institution for supporting economic development and infrastructure construction and management within the province. The financing will support public infrastructure, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, transport, the fight against climate change, and recovery following the crisis. More information

€500m goes to Lazio Region

The European Investment Bank will lend €500 million to the Lazio Region for SMEs, mid-caps, infrastructure, environment, and Covid-19 recovery. This collaboration between the bank of the European Union and Lazio Region will fund all production sectors in the coming years. It will make available €300 million in loans to the Region and €200 million to SMEs and mid-caps. The projects will aim to combat climate change and mitigate risks from hydrogeological instability, among other goals. More information

€576 million in financing for SMEs

The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, jointly with Banco Sabadell, are supporting SMEs, who find themselves among those most affected by the pandemic. The EIB Group – via the European Investment Fund (EIF)  has granted Banco Sabadell a €96 million guarantee for a loan securitisation portfolio allowing the Spanish bank to increase its lending capacity to offer €576 million of financing for projects from Spanish companiespart of which will go towards promoting climate action. More information.

Barcelona Urban Generation viability  

An agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB)and the  Municipality of Barcelona will support urban regeneration through investments of €95 million in energy efficiency and social infrastructure. The funding will also focus on social inclusion and job creation. 1 500 jobs will be created during the construction to boost the city’s economic recovery after the pandemic. The EIB will finance 40 projects in Barcelona that aim to support climate change mitigation and adaptation in the city. More information.

Corona Global Response new pledge

Following the Global Goal: Unite for our Future pledging summit organised by the European Commission and Global Citizen, an additional €6.15 billion funding has been mobilised to help make equitable and affordable access to coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments available to all. The money raised will also support economic recovery in the world’s most fragile regions and communities. The funding includes a €4.9 billion pledge by the European Investment Bank and European Commissionplus €485 million committed by EU Member States. More information.

EIB Group’s economic support

The European Investment Bank Group has approved a pan-European guarantee fund of €25 billion, whose objective is to deliver up to €200 billion to the European economy. This guarantee fund will support SMEs, mid-caps and corporates in Member States that are high-risk but recoverable in the long-term. The majority of the funding will be delivered through financial intermediaries in all EU countries, for example commercial banks or National Promotional Institutions. More information.