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EU Commission to end relaxed COVID-19 state aid scheme

By Via AP news wire
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The European Commission said on Thursday it will gradually put an end to the temporary rules that allowed the 27 EU member countries to benefit from extra public support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Adopted in March 2020, the so-called State Aid COVID Temporary Framework relaxed the European Union’s strict state-aid regulations to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

In light of the improving economic situation in the region, coupled with the lifting of restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus over the past two years, the commission said that another prolongation of the scheme is not necessary.

The mechanism won’t be extended beyond it expiry date on June 30, but the commission insisted the phase-out will take place gradually and businesses won’t be suddenly cut off from support.

During the pandemic, the EU approved a multi-billion rescue package and member states agreed on a 1.8 trillion euro recovery plan and long-term budget for the 2021-2027 period.

To further relieve the pressure on hard-hit businesses, the bloc’s executive arm relaxed the strict state-aid rules to allow for other possible sources of public support.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU Commission executive vice-president in charge of competition policy, said the Commission had adopted more than 1,300 decisions in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, approving nearly 950 national measures for an estimated total amount approved of over €3 trillion.

Of the total aid approved between March 2020 and June 2021, Vestager said around €730 billion euros have been spent so far.

Vestager said the Commission will be ready to “act fast again if the need arises,” warning about the risks posed by the war in Ukraine to Europe’s recovery.

“Ukrainians are paying the highest cost for Russia’s senseless and unlawful war of aggression against their country,” she said. “At the same time, this is creating a disturbance in the European economy and having a severe impact on recovery.”

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Dive Deeper:
Exclusive-Top EU official backs multi-trillion plan to rebuild Ukraine
A top European official has backed a multi-trillion-euro "Marshall"-style plan to rebuild Ukraine, pledging the firepower of the EU's lending…
Spain signs off on plans to temper volatile energy prices
The Spanish government has approved a new plan aimed at reining in soaring energy prices
G7 allies vow to support Ukraine 'until victory'
Wangels (Germany) (AFP) - Leading democracies on Friday pledged unwavering support for Ukraine in its war with Russia while the…
EU plan aims to help get wheat from Ukraine to the world
The European Commission is proposing to help Ukraine move its critical grain supplies to parts of the world at risk…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Donors urged to dig deep as Ukraine war hits Syria hard
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is making the plight of poverty-stricken Syrians far worse
EU oil ban adds pressure on Russia but obstacles remain: Analysts
For a complete embargo to be successful, the bloc has yet to convince countries which rely more heavily on Moscow.
Get all your news in one place