10 Apr 2020
European Union Finance Ministers on Thursday reached agreement on a €540 billion package of measures to tackle the severe economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis and laid the foundation to jump-start the continent’s economic recovery.
The deal is based on three key pillars, including a pan-European guarantee fund under the remit of the European Investment Bank (EIB) of €25 billion, which could support €200 billion of financing for companies with a focus on SMEs, a joint employment insurance fund worth €100 billion as well as credit lines of approximately €240 billion coming from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
Over the past few weeks, Invest Europe has written to four European Commissioners and member states urging them to move quickly to address liquidity concerns, provide regulatory relief and consider tax-related measures to support start-ups, SMEs and the infrastructure we will all need to get through this crisis. Invest Europe has also been in close contact with the European Investment Fund (EIF) to rapidly develop vehicles apt to address the liquidity needs in the market. With the deal reached yesterday, the EU has delivered and shown that it moves quickly and decisively to combat the fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.
Commenting on the announcement, Eric de Montgolfier, CEO of Invest Europe, said that: “This is a crisis of unprecedented magnitude which also requires a strong European response. EU institutions may not always move with the pace we would like to see in the commercial world. But with the EU’s early permission of more state aid to flow to SMEs and start-ups, the European Central Bank’s (ECB) immediate and significant response and now this bold package, we think EU policy-makers deserve a lot of praise for the crisis management they have shown”. The agreement by the EU’s finance ministers now needs to be approved by the heads of the EU 27 member states.
“I hope that the heads of state of the 27 EU member states will take the sage advice given to them by the finance ministers and agree on the package, so that start-ups and all European SMEs - irrespective of their ownership structure and size - can benefit from it quickly”, said Eric de Montgolfier.
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