The Commission is further increasing its response by proposing to set up a €100 billion solidarity instrument to help workers keep their incomes and help businesses stay afloat, called SURE.
The coronavirus outbreak is testing Europe in ways that would have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago. The depth and the breadth of this crisis requires a response unprecedented in scale, speed and solidarity.
In the past weeks, the Commission
- has acted to provide Member States with all the flexibility they need to support financially their health care systems, their businesses and workers
- has acted to coordinate, speed up and reinforce the procurement efforts of medical equipment and has directed research funding to the development of a vaccine
- has worked tirelessly to ensure that goods and cross-border workers can continue to move across the EU, to keep hospitals functioning, factories running and shop shelves stocked
- continues to support the repatriation of EU citizens, their families and long-term residents to Europe from across the world.
Today's proposals take the response to a new level.
€100 billion to keep people in jobs and businesses running: the SURE initiative
SURE is a new instrument that will provide up to €100 billion 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.
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.
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.
Delivering for the most deprived – the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived
As most of Europe practices social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, it is all the more important that those who rely on others for the most basic of needs are not cut off from help. The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) will evolve to meet the challenge: in particular, the use of electronic vouchers to reduce the risk of contamination will be introduced, as well as the possibility of buying protective equipment for those delivering the aid.
More to come
As the situation continues to evolve, the Commission will come forward with more proposals and will work with the other EU institutions to move forward as quickly as possible.