EU to offer 100% financial support for a year
The changes temporarily suspend some of the rules defining the scope and priorities of national programmes that can be financed by the various funds, as well as the conditions under which regions are entitled to receive support.
The decision gives member states flexibility to transfer money between funds and between regions to meet their particular needs in mitigating the social and economic damage of the pandemic. Funds may now be transferred among the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund, and all existing reserves in the structural funds for 2020 can be deployed to tackle the effects of the outbreak.
In addition, member states will be able, for the period between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, to request 100% financial support from the EU budget. In normal circumstances, cohesion policy programmes are financed jointly by the EU budget and contributions from member states. These unprecedented measures will help alleviate the burden on national budgets by providing targeted investment in healthcare, struggling SMEs, and temporary employment schemes, the Council said.
Farmers can also benefit in the form of favourable loans and guarantees of up to EUR 200,000 to help them with liquidity or compensation for losses.
The act is due to enter into force on 24 April 2020.