The European Commission has approved the modification of the two operational programmes (OP) for Cyprus, which will release more than €57 million to help address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s economy and health system.
The OP ‘Employment, Human Resources and Social Cohesion’, co-funded by the European Social Fund, is reinforced with €36 million to finance short time work schemes for more than 68,800 workers in Cyprus. €21 million of European Regional Development Fund resources are reallocated to support the health sector with appropriate equipment (masks, overalls, consumables) and staff. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, commented: “The European Commission stands ready to work with all Member States to ensure the quick adoption of exceptional measures necessary to tackle the outbreak of the virus. Hence, I welcome Cyprus’ request in line with this approach and I encourage other European countries and regions to continue taking advantage of Cohesion policy flexibility to tackle to the sanitary, social and financial crises.” Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, added: “The European Commission has rapidly responded to the coronavirus outbreak, mobilising all the resources it has at its disposal. Under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, we are providing maximum flexibility in the Member States’ use of structural funds. I welcome that Cyprus is using this scheme to support nearly 70,000 workers and the most exposed sectors of the economy, saving jobs and livelihoods.” The modifications are possible thanks to the exceptional flexibility under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) which allow Member States to use Cohesion policy funding to support the most affected sectors because of the pandemic, such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets. In addition, the co-financing rate is temporarily increased to 100% to help beneficiaries overcome liquidity scarcity in the implementation of their projects.