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In response to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, EU member states put various tools in place to support employment, from traditional short-time work (STW) schemes and wage subsidy (WS) schemes to new income support schemes for self-employed and atypical workers.
The European Union offered financial support to these schemes through the creation of a new financial assistance facility – temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) – with a capacity of €100 billion to be distributed in the form of loans to those countries that requested it. As of May 2021, 19 member states have obtained financial support from SURE for a total of almost €95 billion. Despite its smooth functioning and success, SURE remains a temporary mechanism linked to the pandemic. In the (unfortunate) case of future crises, the EU will not have a similar tool to provide immediate support to countries in need. As already advanced in 2020, we argue that SURE should become a permanent mechanism.