Coronavirus response: EU Cohesion policy resources redirected to support SMEs in Poland and the Extremadura and La Rioja regions in Spain

The Commission has approved changes to the “Eastern Poland” cohesion programme, redirecting €147 million funding to tackle challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. €113 million will be targeted at SMEs from five Eastern Polish regions, which had to reduce or discontinue their business. This measure will contribute to maintaining jobs in approximately 1550 companies. Additionally, €34 million will be channelled to support the production of medicinal products and therapies, pharmaceutical active ingredients and medical equipment as well as developing new IT tools for building services for people subject to compulsory quarantine. The European Commission has also approved the modification of two cohesion programmes in Spain to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the regions of Extremadura and La Rioja. These amendments earmark almost €57 million (€46.6 million and €10.3 million respectively) to increase the response capacity of the health sector in both regions. Moreover, the programmes will benefit from a temporary increase of the EU co-financing rate to 100%. Modifying the programmes is possible thanks to the exceptional flexibility provided under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+), which allows Member States to use Cohesion policy funding to support the sectors most exposed sectors to the pandemic, such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets.