COVID 19: European Commission proposes EUR 100 bn solidarity instrument

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The European Commission is further increasing its response by proposing to set up a EUR 100 billion solidarity instrument to help workers keep their incomes and help businesses stay afloat, called SURE. It is also proposing to redirect all available structural funds to the response to the coronavirus.
European parliament building, Brussels, Belgium

The EU's crisis package, aimed at decreasing the economic gap due to the pandemic between member states, was announced on Thursday by EC President Ursula von der Leyen.

Every available euro in the EU budget will be redirected to address it, every rule will be eased to enable the funding to flow rapidly and effectively. With a new solidarity instrument, we will mobilise EUR 100 bn to keep people in jobs and businesses running. With this, we are joining forces with Member States to save lives and protect livelihoods. This is European solidarity.

The new SURE instrument will provide up to EUR 100 bn in loans to countries that need it to ensure that workers receive an income and businesses keep their staff. This allows people to continue to pay their rent, bills and food shopping and helps provide much needed stability to the economy, von der Leyen said.

The loans will be based on guarantees provided by Member States and will be directed to where they are most urgently needed. All Member States will be able to make use of this but it will be of particular importance to the hardest-hit, the EC said.

SURE will support short-time work schemes and similar measures to help Member States protect jobs, employees and self-employed against the risk of dismissal and loss of income. Firms will be able to temporarily reduce the hours of employees or suspend work altogether, with income support provided by the State for the hours not worked. The self-employed will receive income replacement for the current emergency.

The Commission's proposal will be discussed by the finance ministers of Member States in a videoconference next Tuesday.

Cover photo: Getty Images

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