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European Council Approves SURE Job Safety Net

© Council of Europe / Candice Imbert

In efforts to protect thousands of jobs at risk due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, the European Council approved this week the EU’s SURE scheme – a temporary emergency support instrument worth up to 100 billion euros.

The program will provide up to 100 billion euros of loans under favorable terms to EU countries to help them address the unexpected rise in public spending caused by the coronavirus epidemic, including covering costs related to the creation or extension of national short-time work schemes and other similar emergency measures that have been put in place for the self-employed.

Once a request is made, the procedure involves consultation and assessment of the public expenditure increase directly related to pandemic-induced needs to be followed by a proposal.

The EU’s SURE scheme is one of the three safety nets worth 540 billion euros aimed at protecting jobs and workers, businesses and member states. The package should to be operational by 1 June 2020.

 

Later today (Wednesday), Greek Prime Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to announce the government’s action plan aimed at salvaging the 2020 tourism year. Greece is expected to tap into the SURE program to retain jobs and salaries in the sector, a key driver of the economy and the hardest-hit from Covid-19.

“Today’s decision is an important step in the EU’s joint fight against the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic,” said the European Commission in a statement welcoming the decision.

“These loans will help fund member-states’ short-time work schemes and similar measures, as well as some ancillary health measures at the workplace, that have been put in place to ensure workers and the self-employed continue receiving a proper income and businesses retain their staff and ensure that they can work in a safe environment. By protecting the productive capacity of our economies, SURE will also help to secure a faster and more complete recovery once the health emergency is over,” the Commission said.

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