The civil society of the European countries as well as international organisations, have toughly mobilised to overcome the consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemia. Please find below several initiatives that are relevant for the economic response to the crisis.
World Economic Relief Plans
Countries around the world are implementing new tax relief measures to support their weakened economies through the Covid-19 threat. The tax policy non-profit the Tax Foundation is maintaining a list of these measures from around the world, which includes: extended deadlines for filing and paying taxes, increased tax deductions, early tax refunds, reductions in and write-offs of Value Added Tax (VAT), and suspension of tax audits. More information.
SMEs Pandemic Policy Responses
SMEs are being heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, in terms of both the supply to them and the demand from them for goods/services. Given these specific circumstances, several countries are already adopting measures to limit the economic impact on smaller businesses. A variety of financial facilities have been set up to help companies address the outbreak’s short-term consequences, for example: temporary tax relief, disaster relief loan programmes, and direct financial support for SMEs. More information.
OECD Study on SME Policy Responses
The OECD has published an in-depth analysis on SME policy responses after the outbreak of Covid-19. The study discusses how SMEs are affected by the current health emergency, reports on early evidence and estimates about the impact, and provides an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience. The study has been prepared by the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions, and Cities (CFE) and will be updated periodically. More information.
Municipal 10-point action plan
The Flemish municipality of Puurs-Sint-Amands has established a 10-point action plan to actively support its local businesses on top of the national and regional measures taken in Belgium. The scheme represents a value of €500 000 and consists of measures such as the cancellation of local business taxes, fast payment of invoices for services or goods delivered to the municipality, lowering of rental costs for companies working in real estate owned by the municipality, a free €10 voucher for all inhabitants to spend at local businesses, as well as others. More information.
Sharing for great renaissance
The following page, from the Group of the Party of European Socialists in the European Committee of the Regions, presents progressive local stories from cities and regions across Europe. It includes examples of: financial support and advice service for SMEs, grants to hospitals, donation and 3D-printing of medical materials, encouraging short-term letters to house the homeless, video–conferencing systems and extension of home–help services for the elderly. More information.
Interreg Covid-19 temporary measures
Interreg Europe has adopted new working measures, despite the difficulties that projects face due to Covid-19. The initiative consists of providing direct support to projects and how to better work remotely. The Pandemic emergency requires large-scale adaptation to working via online platforms and managing all necessary documents electronically. Interreg Europe hosts webinars and gives tips on how to continue succeeding with smart project activities. More information.
Find a digital solution for your enterprise
Digital services help businesses, citizens, and public administrations to continue their work during the COVID-19 emergency. From smart–working solutions helping workers to stay connected during social isolation to 3D–printing life-saving parts for respiratory support machines, European digital SMEs are offering a variety of solutions to the crisis. The European DIGITAL SME Alliance has collected a list of many of these digital services on its website. More information.
COVID-19 Response Social Inclusion Bond
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has issued Social Inclusion Bonds in response to the ongoing pandemic. This funding of €1 billion is addressed to CEB member countries, 22 of which in Central, Eastern, and South–Eastern Europe are the Bank’s target countries. According to the Social Inclusion Bond framework, the CEB will also finance new or existing social projects which support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in order to create and preserve jobs. More information.
€ 300 million for Spanish SMEs
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and Instituto de Crédito Oficial, Entidad Pública Empresarial (ICO) have signed an agreement allowing the former to grant a loan of €300 million to the latter to finance Spanish MSME projects. The loan aims to support the Spanish government’s efforts to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 on Spanish SMEs. The funds will give them access to liquidity and finance their longer-term investments while also enabling them to maintain their employees. More information.
€1.3 billion in loans from the CEB
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved the financing of eight projects to its member countries to support the government policies to mitigate the spread and consequences of Covid-19. Beneficiary countries include Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia, and Turkey while the total amount of loans is €1.3 billion. These funds will finance the acquisition of medical supplies and equipment, the recruitment of additional medical staff, as well as alleviating the impact of the crisis on Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises. More information.
The EBRD’s solidarity package
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has launched a Solidarity Package to both respond the COVID-19 outbreak and support its partners. The €1 billion in emergency financing measures will be addressed mostly to SMEs. The measures taken will also include an expansion of trade finance and the provision of short-term finance for up to two year through intermediate financial institutions. More information.
EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has offered to guarantee loans for the import and export of goods and medical equipment to several European countries such as Spain, Greece, and Portugal. Furthermore, thanks to its Trade Facilitation Programme, the Bank can lend more freely without fear of losing money. Indeed, the EBRD supported 144 transaction worth €385,6 million in March under this Programme and has recorded its highest turnover ever. More information.
New recovery measures from EBRD
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched a series of response and recovery measures that strengthen the Bank’s Solidarity Package, which was first unveiled on the 13th of March. The Bank now has the capacity to offer support worth €21 billion over the 2020-21 period. More information.
3D Printing Solutions to Guarantee Supply Chains
As companies and organisations suffer supply chain problems, 3D printing may offer an alternative to regular suppliers. 3DP PAN EU is a platform designed to map 3DP test and demonstration facilities in the EU, describing in detail the equipment and services that are available for use by third parties. The 3DP Pan project is a European Parliament pilot action managed by the European Commission and implemented by a consortium which includes EURADA member ART-ER. More information.
COVID-19 Response Call for Innovative Ideas
ENRICH in China launched a COVID-19 Response Call, with financial investment opportunities available for innovative companies with solutions dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. The call is intended for innovative ideas seeking finances from 500.000€ upwards. Sectors of specific interest are healthcare, pharma, robotics, IT/Data processing and agriTech. More information.
Care & Industry together against CORONA
‘Care & Industry together against CORONA’ is a European platform promoted by the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) to support the healthcare sector during through the current period. The platform seeks to match offers/requests and to share knowledge and approaches among healthcare providers, companies, support organisations, clusters, academia, and governments. All interested parties are invited to register on the platform, present their profile and expertise, and describe their specific offer or request. More information.
Campaign to highlight smart city initiatives
The Horizon 2020 project POCITYF, which works on developing smart city solutions to reduce energy usage in historical cities and which EURADA works on, is taking part in the #SmartCitiesHelp twitter hashtag campaign. This label is intended as a way to highlight smart city initiatives being taken to provide solutions to problems faced by citizens. Have a look for ideas and do not hesitate to share any smart solutions your city/region has been putting into action. More information.
Survey on the SME Policies of local and regional authorities
Due to the significant impact on SMEs and regional economies in Europe, the Dutch Province of Overijssel and the European Committee of the Regions have jointly launched a survey on ‘SME Policies of Local and Regional Authorities’ to gather examples of good practices of regional ecosystems supporting SMEs across Europe, with focus on resilience, business transfer policies, regional financial solutions, public procurement practices, digitalisation, and sustainability. The survey will be open until the 17th of May. More information.
Available tools to support business in East Netherlands
In light of the significant impact Covid-19is having on businesses and the economy, Th!nk East Netherlands has published an overview of the main schemes available to support businesses during and after the crisis. Th!nk East Netherlands is an initiative of cluster organisations, research institutes, universities, regions, employers organisations, and the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. More information.
Financial support programme list for SMEs
The European Association of Guarantee institutions (AECM) is one of the most important providers of guarantees for loans to SMEs. Many AECM members are offering new products to help SMEs to mitigate any financial shortfalls caused by the Covid-19 crisis. In order to assist companies in their search for support programmes, SMEunited and AECM provide a list of links to dedicated web pages from AECM members in different European countries which can guide SMEs to available support programmes. More information.
Local2030 Spotlight Stories
The Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals recently launched the Local2030 Spotlight Series. Partners are invited to record and share 2-minute video contributions highlighting their perspectives on the pandemic’s main challenges and innovative solutions developed at the local level to tackle it. Interested partners can share the video using the Local2030 dropbox, via Twitter using #Local2030 #SpotlightSeries, or by sending it to EURADA (contact person Andrea Carini). Videos will be featured in the Local2030 media channels and feed into the global debate on Covid-19. More information.
An interactive tool to tackle fake news on Covid-19
Trust in Science is an interactive tool that enables citizens to better understand research on Covid-19. The tool is intended to mitigate the spread of fake news and to empower citizens to recognise trustworthy scientific information and to advocate for research integrity. Developed by the Members of the Horizon 2020-funded ‘Path2Integrity’ project, the ‘Trust in Science’ tool has been selected as one of the 117 winners of the EUvsVirus hackathon. More information.
TTO circle members against Covid-19
The European Technology Transfer Offices (TTO) circle is a network of the major public research organisations focused on activities related to international standards for the professionalisation of technology transfer. As the TTO circle is active in fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, they have published a report gathering some Covid-19 initiatives, mostly from TTO members, in order to identify possible collaborations to tackle the current crisis. More information.
Covid-19 and food: a new big-data tool from FAO
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has developed a big-data tool to help countries mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food and agriculture. Every day this open-access tool gathers and analyses worldwide information on food insecurity against the viral spread, food price increases, and so on. The platform will be kept updated by the FAO Data Lab to provide countries with facts and information on how the pandemic is impacting food chains and decisions being made concerning them. More information.
SportHack 2020 Latvia Event
WindHackers have launched an event called SportHack 2020 Latvia, a sports innovation hackathon that seeks to help athletes, coaches, and sports fans in overcoming the challenges brought about by the ongoing pandemic. The event will be held online from the 21st to 23rd of May and aims to get innovators, developers, marketers, and designers across Europe to generate innovative ideas for the sports industry over a 48-hour period. An awards ceremony is also scheduled for the end of the event. More information.
A European Library Agenda for the future
EBLIDA – the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations – has recently published a report entitled “Preparing a European Library Agenda for the Post-Covid Age – A Work in Progress”. The report is based on the responses to a survey of EBLIDA members launched in April to detect measures and practices initiated during the crisis which could be useful later on. Relevant recommendations will be released at a later stage. More information.
COVID-19 prevention: ILO Guide for Employers
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has recently published a guide for employers suggesting recommendations for health and safety practices and approaches to Covid-19 prevention, based on materials developed by many organisations globally. The publication aims to provide general guidance and information to employers on how to prevent the spread of the virus in the workplace in order to enable workers to return to work safely while keeping the contamination risk as low as possible. It also provides suggestions on how to protect workers’ mental well-being during the pandemic. More information.