EU cohesion policy: end of year wrap-up of action against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic
Today, the Commission is announcing the 2020 results of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+). Thanks to the two legislative packages launched by the Commission to fight the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU mobilised investments of around €18 billion since the beginning of the crisis to support the health and socio-economic sectors.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “We are reaching the end of a very difficult year for everyone. The amount of EU Cohesion funds that were reprogrammed and directed to the most affected sectors, show how the two CRII packages were crucial in supporting Member States, citizens and businesses in this crisis. Cohesion Policy was at the forefront of the fight against the adverse effects of the pandemic, and will remain so in the relaunch of our economies and in ensuring that they'll emerge from this crisis stronger than before”.Investments triggered by the exceptional flexibilities of the CRII and CRII+ legislative packages were enabled by close cooperation between the Commission, Member States and regions. This cooperation facilitated among others the adjustment of 82% the cohesion policy Investment for Growth and Jobs programmes in 25 Member States and the UK. The possibility to use the 100% EU co-financing rate has provided Member States with additional €3.2 billion in their budgets for this accounting year.
Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have benefited from most of the funding available, over €10 billion, that helped businesses to stay afloat. €3 billion were directed to people, including for social services to vulnerable groups and temporary employment schemes for workers. Lastly, €6.6 billion supported the health sector, in addition to the €10.2 billion from the EU budget that were already allocated to this area in the years 2014-2020.
The funding made available under CRII and CRII+ supported much needed emergency acquisitions of medical equipment during the pandemic. For example, Spain set up nearly 3,800 additional ICU bed spaces, acquired 1.8 billion items of personal protective equipment and purchased 2,170 ventilators. Italy supported 470 laboratories and financed 2.5 million SARS-CoV-2 tests, while Slovakia purchased 110 additional emergency vehicles and Bulgaria bought 317 ventilators and over 2 million facemasks. Ireland financed the acquisition of 65 million items of personal protective equipment for health care workers and Poland purchased 536 ventilators and 120 emergency vehicles. France provided €223 million in grants and financial instruments to over 3,200 SMEs. Portugal supported the production of medical devices, tests and personal protection equipment. Support for working capital of SMEs amounted to €1.3 billion in Greece, €800 million in Romania and €320 million in Hungary.
The Commission will continue to support Member States and regions in 2021 in the fight against COVID-19, also in the framework of the REACT-EU initiative.
The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) allow Member States to reallocate existing cohesion policy funding to support the most affected sectors by the pandemic, such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets. Regions may also benefit from a temporary increase of the EU co-financing up to 100%. Country specific information is available at the following webpages: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
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