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.
€75 million loan from EBRD to UniCredit Bank Serbia
Business and municipalities in Serbia will benefit from a €75 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to UniCredit Bank Serbia to be loaned out to clients facing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The financing will address the liquidity needs of corporates, small businesses, and municipalities in Serbia following the sharp slowdown of economic activity after the imposition of public health measures earlier in the year to prevent the spread of the virus. More information.
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.
€16.6 billion approved by EIB for recovery
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €16.6 billion of new financing for projects across Europe and around the world. This includes more than €10 billion of new financing to improve the public health response to Covid-19, ensure that key public services can adapt to new challenges and enable companies to survive economic shocks resulting from the pandemic and to invest in their future. This includes €2 billion to support healthcare investment across Italy and €1.5 billion to help local authorities in France to better respond to the pandemic. More information
Free Online Programme for Entrepreneurs
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched a free online learning programme to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises confronted with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Entrepreneurs will have access to practical assistance, including training materials and crisis management advice from industry experts and peer discussion forums. The programme will also offer specific local information on the financial support available from governments and banks in 30 of the economies where the EBRD invests. 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.
€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.
€ 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.
CEB loans for the Lithuanian government and Kaunas City Municipality’s public transport
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved a €100 million loan to support the Lithuanian government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis by covering the purchase of personal protective equipment, reagents, medical equipment, and consumables for the use of healthcare workers and for the benefit of people seeking treatment. Thus CEB has provided a €21.5 million loan to Kauno Autobusai, the public transport company in Kaunas City Municipality, for investments in sustainable mobility. More information
Covid-19 Response: €175 million agreement between CEB and the Hungarian government
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and Hungary’s Ministry of Finance have approved a €175 million loan agreement to guarantee medical services during the Covid-19 crisis. The CEB financing will cover the costs of additional medical and pharmaceutical supplies and specialised equipment. It will also provide for the repatriation of medical staff stranded abroad and for any other measures aimed at improving the capacity of the health sector in Hungary. 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.
Social Inclusion Bonds for SMEs, jobs, and health
On the 3rd of June, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) issued a USD 500 million 3-year Global Covid-19 Response Social Inclusion Bond. This new benchmark attracted strong interest from investors. In line with its commitment to support member countries affected by Covid-19, the Bank will allocate the proceeds to the financing or refinancing, in part or in full, of new or existing loans. These loans will cover support to SMEs for the creation and preservation of viable jobs and expenditure related to the health sector. More information.
Combatting COVID-19 disinformation on online platforms
Disinformation and misinformation about Covid-19 are quickly and widely disseminated across the Internet, reaching and potentially influencing many people. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has prepared a policy brief highlighting four key actions that governments and platforms can take to counter this, namely: 1) supporting independent fact-checking organisations; 2) ensuring human moderators to complement technological solutions; 3) voluntarily issuing transparency reports about Covid-19 disinformation; and 4) improving users’ media, digital and health literacy skills. More information
OECD Note on Covid-19 Policy Challenges
The Covid-19 epidemic is disrupting business activity, causing demand to collapse and straining global supply chains. This is pushing many firms into financial distress and sparking government interventions to protect incomes, jobs, and firms. The OECD has published a note that analyses the policy challenges raised by such interventions, with a special focus on the governance of state-owned enterprises and exit strategies from state ownership. 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.
OECD Webinar: Covid-19 and public trust
The OECD is launching a series of webinars on the topic of “Building a New Paradigm for Public Trust” to investigate the impact of Covid-19 on levels of public trust. The first one is entitled “Measuring Public Trust After a Pandemic and Economic Crises” and will be held on the 22nd of June, 13:30–15:30 CEST. This webinar will be an opportunity to discuss recent evidence on public trust, challenge existing models for measuring it, and test the fitness of OECD framework for providing timely, sound, and relevant indications to policymakers. 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.
FAO’s Biannual Report on Global Food Markets
Food markets will face many more months of uncertainty related to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, while most markets are braced for a major global economic downturn, the agri-food sector is likely to display more resilience to the crisis than other sectors. The report “Food Outlook” is published by the Trade and Markets Division of the FAO under the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS). It is a biannual publication focusing on developments affecting global food and feed markets, featuring assessments, forecasts, and feature articles on topical issues. More information.
FAO: Covid-19 and the wholesale food markets
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published a brief focused on the wholesale food markets (WFMs) and the Covid-19 crisis. WFMs are common facilities that group multiple food businesses involved in the sale of foodstuffs to food business operators. The brief presents considerations for ways in which local, provincial, and national governments can work with WFM authorities and food system actors to protect merchants, workers, and customers and to minimise the impact of the virus. More information
FAO launches the new Covid-19 Response and Recovery Programme
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has launched a new comprehensive Covid-19 Response and Recovery Programme aimed at preventing a global food emergency during and after the pandemic, while also working on medium-to-long-term development responses for food security and nutrition. The agency is calling for $1.2 billion in initial investment to support the needs of the new programme. This new programme is also supported by the Covid-19 Food Coalition, launched by the Government of Italy. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Call for innovative solutions to address COVID-19 challenges
The World Economic Forum has launched a series of COVID-related challenges via its new digital platform, UpLink, to crowdsource, surface and scale high-potential solutions and innovations from all over the world. From June to September, UpLink will run the COVID challenges and work with its network of impact leaders, investors and experts to find the world’s most innovative responses and solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
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.
Covid-19 and IMF emergency financial assistance
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is providing emergency financial assistance and debt relief to member countries facing the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The IMF has added a web section summarising emergency financing approved by the IMF’s Executive Board under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), as well as reinforcement of existing financing arrangements. 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.
ILO: COVID-19 Enterprises Resources
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Enterprises Department has been monitoring and collecting key information resources available on the functioning of enterprises in the Covid-19 crisis, including its impact on enterprises, their responses, and state policy measures to support affected enterprises. These briefs have been gathered and published regularly on the ILO website to provide updated information on support actions taken. 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.
Creatives Unite: gathering initiatives to tackle Covid-19 crisis
Creatives Unite is a website launched for information sharing between stakeholders in the fields of culture and creative industries. The aim of the site is to gather together information on initiatives to address the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis. It also serves as a common platform for creating and sharing ideas in culture and creative industries. In addition, the site helps to direct the organisations and initiatives responsible for opportunities to the appropriate websites. The website is maintained by the European Parliament’s pilot project Creative FLIP, which is managed by the European Commission. More information.
Estonian shipping lines eligible to apply for European Commission-approved state aid worth €20 million
The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is aiming to compensate firms hit by the coronavirus pandemic. For ferry lines and their Estonian-registered subsidiaries, €20 million of state aid has been set aside to help the industry recover. Companies may be compensated at 80% of losses following negotiations with the European Commission. More information.
Fast Track Call for Proposals for projects in need of computing resources
The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) has developed a new initiative called “Fast Track Call for Proposals” under the H2020 programme. This initiative is meant for those project proposals which are in need of computing resources in order to fight the effects of Covid-19. Once the proposal is presented, a committee of experts from PRACE assesses them within the period of one week, focusing on the significance of the proposal, the soundness of its methodology and tools, and its technical feasibility. More information. To find the call, please check this document.
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.
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.
Global call for “Innovative Ideas and Technologies vs. Covid-19 and beyond”
The United Nation Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has announced the winners of Global call for “Innovative Ideas and Technologies vs. Covid-19 and beyond”. Around 1 100 applications from 108 different countries across the world were submitted in response to the call. The initiative magnificently identified innovative solutions and scalable technologies worldwide to assist developing countries in facing the far-reaching challenges of the ongoing crisis. More information
Initiatives developed by Enterprise Lithuania to stimulate the economy
To support the actions taken by the Lithuanian government to shield the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Enterprise Lithuania has developed several initiatives to help coordinate businesses and keep them afloat. “No quarantine on the Internet” is one of these initiatives which aims to help businesses create an E-shop for their products. A network of 100 mentors was created by Enterprise Lithuania in order to provide consultancy services to the programme participants and answer their questions. More information.
Innov-AL Webinars on economic dynamisation for the post-covid era
Every Tuesday, in the framework of the Innov-AL platform, created by European Commission’s DG REGIO to foster collaboration between European and Latin American regions, webinars take place on different topics to showcase the best initiatives taken by European regions to cope with the harmful effects of Covid-19. These sessions are aimed at peers and regional authorities from Latin American countries. A system of simultaneous translation (Spanish-English) is available. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The European Youth Foundation’s special call for Pilot Activities
Local or national youth organisations can receive a grant of up to €10 000 from the EYF for their pilot activities if they apply by the 1st of September 2020. Ideal projects include those that aim to demonstrate solidarity and support to all persons affected by the Covid-19 crisis; support to health, social, and educational services; and education and awareness-raising around the importance of human rights in response to the pandemic. More information
Trade unions and social partners’ responses to Covid-19
The Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD publishes a regularly updated snapshot of the various actions undertaken by social partners and trade unions in OECD countries to handle the economic and labour market implications of the health crisis caused by the spread of Covid-19. These actions are from 25 countries and include responses, agreements, and calls to provide best practice to share. Actions at the sectoral level are also featured via international trade union resource pages. 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.
SMEunited: ”The economic impact of Covid-19 on SMEs in Europe”
SMEunited – the association of crafts and SMEs in Europe, with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries – recently published the report “The economic impact of Covid-19 on SMEs in Europe”. This document summarises the replies to a survey SMEunited conducted of its member organisations on the economic impact of the pandemic on the economy in general and specifically on SMEs. More information
UN Comprehensive Response to Covid-19
The United Nations has published a Comprehensive Response to Covid-19 setting out goals to be pursued: delivering an inclusive global response, reducing vulnerability to future pandemics, building resilience to future shocks, and overcoming the severe and systemic inequalities exposed by the pandemic. Thus, the Response promotes three pillars of operation: Delivery of a large-scale, coordinated, comprehensive health response; adoption of policies that address the socioeconomic, humanitarian, and human rights aspects of the crisis; and a recovery process that builds back better. More information
UNESCO webinar series: “Learning Cities’ Covid-19 recovery: from research to practice”
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and the PASCAL International Observatory are jointly organising the webinar series “Learning Cities’ Covid-19 recovery: from research to practice”. This webinar series demonstrates the practical application of successful approaches for addressing issues such as inclusion, education for sustainable development, and learning for health and well-being by offering a conceptual and analytical dialogue. The webinar series will be held from the 17th of June to the 18th of November 2020. More information
Webinar on Covid-19 and Biodiversity Loss by UNESCO
UNESCO will hold a webinar on Covid-19 and loss of biodiversity, the threats to the survival of the great apes. A number of experts specialising in conservation, biology, and ecology will discuss the health of biodiversity, zoonoses (infections that have jumped from animals to humans) and how to prevent them, and the specific risks for great apes and humans and how to reduce them. This webinar, in English, will take place on the 9th of June 2020 from 9:30 to 11:30 (UTC+2). More information.
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.