The European Commission has unlocked €1 billion from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) that will serve as a guarantee to the European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank Group. This will allow the EIF to issue special guarantees to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-cap companies hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, for an estimated available financing of €8 billion. Today’s announcement fulfils the commitment in the Commission Communication of 13 March to bring immediate relief to hard-hit SMEs, with money able to flow already in April. It is part of the package of measures announced by the EIB Group on 16 March designed to rapidly mobilise support for Europe’s SMEs and mid-caps.
One of the immediate economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is the sudden lack of liquidity affecting small and medium-sized businesses. These companies are typically the most affected in a crisis, and it is essential to support them with adequate liquidity so they can survive the crisis. However, in a situation of liquidity crunch banks are not incentivised to lend SMEs money due to the sudden increase in perceived risk. That is why EU guarantees supporting these loans are necessary. As of today, the EIF is offering to the market dedicated EFSI-backed guarantees to contain the impact of the pandemic on small and medium sized enterprises and small mid-cap companies. Continue reading “Commission and European Investment Fund unlock €8 billion in finance for 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses”
The COVID-19 outbreak has turned into a fast-moving emergency, figures and measures are constantly changing across Europe and the world, affecting all levels of society.
Not since the end of the Second World War, has the global community faced such a dramatic crisis. No government in Europe or elsewhere can possibly think to solve such a pandemic alone. All the Member States must come together, to support each other and to coordinate a concerted action. A piecemeal approach by the individual Member States is a sure recipe for disaster. If we get this wrong, we may not have another opportunity to get it right.
While our thoughts go to those who have been directly affected by the pandemic, we pay tribute to the many people, not only in the health sector, that are fighting against the COVID-19, displaying courage and an unbelievable sense of responsibility. Their efforts have to be supported and praised, while guaranteeing health and safety measures for all of them.
The EU institutions must ensure equal distribution of medical equipment in all affected Member States. The Covid-19 outbreak shows how urgent and fundamental is to strengthen a universal and solidarity based public health system in order to guarantee access to health services to every citizen.
But solidarity has to be strengthened at all levels. EU citizens need concrete measures capable of delivering an urgent coordinated and common response to reduce the spread of the virus. Containing the virus as much as possible will prevent an overburdening of our national healthcare systems, while also buying time for the development of a vaccine and potential treatments. Continue reading “Now, we are either a Union or we are nothing !”