Coronavirus: Increased flexibility under EU Cohesion policy helps Italian regions to cope with the crisis

The European Commission has welcomed and approvedthe redirection of €30 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to help two Italian regions, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, to cope with the coronavirus crisis. The two regions are the first to use the flexibilities provided under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII). Emilia Romagna will fund a call for projects for industries and research centres to finance short-term projects to develop and test innovative service and product solutions during the emergency and the gradual re-opening phases. Tuscany will provide regional SMEs easier access to liquidity to keep their business running at time of economic uncertainty. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, commented: “Cohesion policy is once again proving its capacity to adapt to the circumstances and needs of Europe’s regions. In the present challenging times, these two measures are an excellent example of the new flexibilities introduced into cohesion policy so that it can help regions in all possible ways. Tuscany’s approved request shows that cohesion has always been a useful instrument supporting the local economy, and even more so now. Also, being one of the most severely affected areas in the country, I welcome Emilia Romagna’s fast reaction to use the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and encourage other regions in Italy and beyond to take advantage of this useful initiative.” Emilia Romagna will rapidly allocate €8.3 million from existing ERDF resources to finance solution-oriented projects. The modification of Tuscany’s Operational Programme, on the other hand, introduces a new counter-guarantee fund coupled with guarantee fees subsidies and interest rate subsidies for SMEs, all covered with €20 million from ERDF and an additional €2 million for innovative start-ups including support via risk capital participation.