The European Commission has presented proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support of €81.4 billion to 15 Member States under the SURE instrument. SURE is a crucial element of the EU’s comprehensive strategy to protect citizens and mitigate the severely negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. It is one of the three safety nets agreed by the European Council to shield workers, businesses and countries.
Once the Council approves these proposals, the financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to Member States. These loans will assist Member States in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment. Specifically, they will help Member States to cover the costs directly related to the financing of national short-time work schemes, and other similar measures they have put in place as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, in particular for the self-employed.
Following consultations with the Member States that have requested support and after assessing their requests, the Commission proposes to the Council to approve the granting of financial support to:
SURE can provide financial support of up to €100 billion in total to all Member States. The proposals put forward by the Commission to the Council for decisions to grant financial support amount to €81.4 billion and cover 15 Member States. Portugal and Hungary have already submitted formal requests which are being assessed. The Commission expects to put forward a proposal to grant support to Portugal and Hungary shortly. Member States which have not yet made formal requests may still do so.
Loans provided to Member States under the SURE instrument will be underpinned by a system of voluntary guarantees from Member States. The Commission expects that the process of Member States finalising their guarantee agreements with the Commission will be completed very shortly.
Members of the College said:
President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We must do everything in our power to preserve jobs and livelihoods. Today marks an important step in this regard: just four months after I proposed its creation, the Commission is proposing to provide €81.4 billion under the SURE instrument to help protect jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic across the EU. SURE is a clear symbol of solidarity in the face of an unprecedented crisis. Europe is committed to protecting citizens.”
Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: “Workers are currently enduring enormous insecurity, and we need to support them to overcome this crisis and relaunch our economies. That is why the Commission proposed SURE, to help protect workers and facilitate the economic rebound. Today, we welcome Member States’ strong interest in accessing the cheap funding available under SURE to support short-time work schemes and similar measures, and we look forward to a fast decision process to start disbursing the loans.”
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: “SURE was one of the first safety nets we decided to put in place to guarantee that workers have an income while their jobs have been suspended, and that their employment is preserved. SURE will therefore help a swifter recovery. All Member States will soon have provided a cumulative €25 billion in guarantees, and we propose that the 15 Member States who requested support receive a cumulated €81.4 billion in loans. This is a demonstration of European solidarity, of how together we are stronger for the benefit of all European citizens.”
Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, said: “Short-time work schemes have played a key role in cushioning the impact on jobs of the COVID-19 pandemic. SURE is the European Union’s contribution to these essential safety nets. It will help to protect workers against unemployment and preserve the jobs and skills that we will need as our economies recover. The high demand from our Member States confirms the vital importance of this scheme.”
Each Member State’s contribution to the overall amount of the guarantee corresponds to its relative share in the total gross national income (GNI) of the European Union, based on the 2020 EU budget.