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EU: supporting Member States as they combat the coronavirus
Planet Labor, 18 March 2020, n°11731 - www.planetlabor.com

The EU wasted no time in unfolding its arsenal of budget measures to help support its Member States face the coronavirus crisis. On 13 March an EU Commission proposal mobilised funds for a crisis budget that the Government representatives adopted on 18 March, without amendment, in order to enable its rapid adoption. €37 billion from the cohesion programme will be redirected to provide financial support for the crisis. The EU Parliament is also expected to act rapidly and in addition, Member States will benefit from €29 billion out of the structural funds. The EU’s Structural funds (used for major catastrophes) will also include public health crises. Europe’s social partners welcomed the EU’s response. The European Trade Union confederation ETUC, the employers’ BusinessEurope body, the CEEP, and SMEunited adopted on 16 March a declaration embracing these budgetary measures as well as the EU Commission’s ‘plan to apply flexibility regarding the application of its fiscal and State Aid rules is essential to supporting public services, which are stretched to the limit, as well as companies and workers hit by the crisis.’ The Executive stated it would be applying the maximum level of flexibility as part of the EU budget, as well as loosening regulations on State aid so that the necessary measures can be put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the negative socio-economic effects.