The European Commission has presented three proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support under the ‘Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency’ (SURE) instrument: an additional €900 million to Greece, bringing the total support to the country to €6.2 billion, an additional €26 million to Cyprus, bringing total support to €632 million, and an additional €300 million to Portugal, bringing total support to €6.2 billion. Once the Council approves the proposals, the financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms. The loans to all three countries will fund past expenditure on the continuation of measures that were introduced to tackle the severe socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The loan to Greece will help cover costs incurred in 2021 related to the continuation of a short-time work scheme and a scheme covering social security contributions to preserve employment. The loan to Cyprus will contribute to funding the expenditure incurred in 2021 for the continuation of a short-time work scheme and similar measures for the self-employed and specific sectors in the tourism industry. The loan to Portugal will help primarily fund incurred expenditure up to May 2022 related to the continuation of numerous labour market and health-related measures. There are now ten Member States who have requested additional SURE support on top of the support that the Council had already approved in 2020: Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia and Portugal. SURE is a crucial element of the EU’s comprehensive strategy to protect jobs and workers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s proposal, if adopted, would bring the overall financial support granted under SURE to a total of €95.7 billion. The Commission has already disbursed €91.8 billion to 19 Member States under SURE, and it expects to undertake the remaining borrowing operations in the coming months. €4.3 billion is still available under SURE for possible future requests.
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