Thursday

2nd Dec 2021

EU launches €100bn worker support scheme

  • Ursula von der Leyen: 'I think the European budget should be the 'Marshall Plan' we are laying out together as a European Union for the European people' (Photo: European Commission)

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Thursday (2 April) "a new solidarity instrument" of €100bn in financial assistance, in the form of loans, to support workers affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

This unemployment reinsurance mechanism named SURE would require member states to provide guarantees collectively amounting to at least €25bn based "on a voluntary basis".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The lockdown paralysed the demand and it paralysed the supply. If we do nothing […] we will lose markets and this will limit our recovery," warned von der Leyen.

"SURE can mitigate the effects of the recession, it keeps people in work, it enables companies to return to the market with renewed vigour," she added.

The support will be directed to where it is most urgently needed, but von der Leyen stressed that the scheme would be open to all 27 EU countries.

All member states already have some form of national short-time work schemes in place.

However, the commission's SURE proposal still needs to be approved by the EU Council.

After the north-south split over the 'coronabonds' this week, von der Leyen recalled that the northern countries already tried similar schemes in the past and had "very good experience" with it during the 2008 financial crisis.

"Many are calling right now for something which is called a 'Marshall Plan.' Well, I think the European budget should be the Marshall Plan we are laying out together as a European Union for the European people," said von der Leyen.

Von der Leyen said that EU institutions and member states have mobilised €2,770bn, what is "the largest answer to a European crisis ever given".

The commission is also proposing to redirect existing funds, such as the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund or the Common Agriculture Policy, to support fisherman and farmers.

Likewise, all uncommitted money from the three different Cohesion Policy funds will also be mobilised to respond to the negative economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Every available euro in the EU budget will be redirected to address it, every rule will be eased to enable the funding to flow rapidly and effectively," von der Leyen said.

Additionally, a total of €3bn from the EU budget will be directed to support healthcare systems and professionals - of which €300 million will be allocated to support the EU's common stockpile of protective equipment and medical gear.

Journalism hit hard by corona crisis

An already fragile business model for journalism might be dealt a lethal blow in the corona crisis. And the freedom of the press itself is coming under extreme pressure, as governments take swift and debilitating measures fighting the pandemic.

Column

Trying to think straight about coronavirus

Clear-headed thinking becomes nearly impossible under this relentless barrage of bad news and apocalyptic analysis, Ferraris writes - a state of mind he describes as "cogito interruptus".

Opinion

A coronavirus 'Marshall Plan' alone won't be nearly enough

The 1948-51Marshall Plan provided about €118bn in today's figures in American assistance to European countries. These numbers are dwarfed by prospective needs, and the needs are not just European or American - but global.

Opinion

Covid-19: Low-paid workers risk lives, let's protect them

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, carers, cleaners, porters and ambulance drivers are at the sharp end of this pandemic. 8,000 Dutch healthcare workers have tested positive, with several in intensive care. Spain has 24,000 infected care-workers and Italy 16,950, with 150 dead.

News in Brief

  1. EU commission unveils proposal to digitalise justice systems
  2. German ICUs expected to peak at Christmas
  3. Report: First Omicron case found in the US
  4. US urges Russia to pull back troops from Ukrainian border
  5. Ukraine president calls for direct talks with Russia 'to end war'
  6. Renewable energy saw 'record year of growth'
  7. Dutch coalition talks aim for Christmas breakthrough
  8. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border

Surge of infections triggers new restrictions, despite vaccination

The spike in Covid-19 infections is prompting some EU governments to introduce lockdown measures and restrictions for the unvaccinated. Meanwhile, travel operators are calling for coordination and a common approach for booster doses and valid certificates.

Central Europe struggles with new Covid-19 wave

A new wave of Covid-19 infections has been sweeping through central Europe, where the vaccination rate is generally below the EU average - partly due to low trust in institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. EU mulls mandatory vaccination, while urging booster for all
  2. EU unveils €300bn reply China's infrastructure programme
  3. Current global financial system is a 'dance with death'
  4. EU skirts pushbacks, suggests people seek asylum in Belarus
  5. EU warned against making 'Future EU' conference a one-off
  6. My 6-point plan for Belarus, by former Lithuanian PM
  7. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  8. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us