NEWS AND MEASURES FROM THE EU
|EUROPEAN COMMISSION |
A European Coordinated response
The European Commission announced on 13 March 2020 its response to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. A European coordinated response would use instruments to:
– Ensure the necessary supplies to the European health systems;
– Support people so that income and jobs are not affected disproportionally;
– Support firms and ensure the financial sector liquidity can continue to support the economy;
– Allow Members States to act through a full flexibility of State Aid and Stability, and Growth Pact Frameworks.
Real the full press release here.
The European Commission adopted on 19 March 2020 a State aid Temporary Framework to enable Member States to support the economy from their own national budget. It will be in place until the end of December 2020 and provides 5 types of aid:
– Direct grants, selective tax advantages and advance payments;
– State guarantees for loans taken by companies from banks;
– Subsidised public loans to companies;
– Safeguards for banks that channel State aid to the real economy;
– Short-term export credit insurance.
A few member States have already put forward schemes using the State aid Temporary Framework: France is mobilising more than €300 billion of liquidity, Denmark DKK 1 billion (approx. €130 billion) for a guarantee scheme for SMEs affected and Germany has launched two separate measures through the German promotion bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). More countries will make use of this Framework in the following days.
Read the full press release here.
A Fiscal Framework general escape clause
The European Commission proposed on 20 March 2020 the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP); it was endorsed by the Council on 23 March. This clause will allow Member States to undertake measures to deal with the crises and depart from budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework.
Read the full press release here.
Lightened College Meeting Agenda
The European Commission updated on 18 March 2020 its college agenda outlining the possible items agendas from 25 March to 24 June. The number of items have been considerably reduced and none of the radio relevant files will be discussed. Financial Times journalists confirmed that EU digital policy and key legislation was likely to be delayed.
Cancellation of meetings
European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli (S&D, Italy) announced precautionary measures on 2nd March 2020 to restrict access to external actors to the premises. The 2020 calendar was subsequently revised on 19 March to show that activities will fully go back to normal in September 2020.
A special plenary session will be held on Thursday 26 March: it aims at speeding up implementation of measures linked to COVID-19. More specially, MEPs will debate and vote remotely on the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to make €37 billion from the Cohesion funds available to EU countries, as well as on the extension of the scope of EU Solidarity funds and to stop the ghost-flights.
CULT Committee Chair calls for support to education and to the creative industry
On 17 March 2020, The Cultural and Education(CULT) Committee Chair MEP Sabine Verheyen (EPP, Germany) called on the EU and Member State to help education and creative sectors to mitigate the effects of containing COVID-19. MEP Verheyen particularly asked Member States to provide substantial financial support to the individual artists and small businesses from the cultural sector.
More information here.
Italy is not alone
Letter by President Charles Michel to the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
© European Council – Read Press Release.
Increasing online Council meeting
Council took additional steps to ensure institutional continuity by facilitating the use of the written procedures to adopt Acts (instead of through formalmeetings). To maintain discussions and decisions on core business, videoconferences of ministers will be organised. The Croatian Presidency also announced earlier this month that it was postponing informal meetings in Croatia until 15 April 2020. The format of meetings has shifted to teleconferences.