The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative has been adopted and will enter into force on 1 April. €37 billion of cohesion policy money will strengthen healthcare systems, support SMEs, short-term employment schemes, and community-based services.
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Furthermore the EU Solidarity Fund will be deployed to support the most affected countries.
As of 1 February 2020 expenditure will cover costs incurred in efforts to save lives and protect citizens.
Of the total, about €8 billion will come from unspent pre-financing in 2019 under the structural funds. The new measure allows member states to spend unused money to mitigate the impact of the pandemic instead of returning it to the EU budget. Another €29 billion will be disbursed early from allocations which would have been due later this year.
Member states will also have greater flexibility to make transfers between cohesion policy programmes in order to redirect resources to where they are most needed.