23rd Jan 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.


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".


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.


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. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

EU seeks more health powers after dubious Covid-19 response

After the lack of coordination evidenced during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission put forward a set of proposals to strengthen the preparedness of members states in cross-border health threats.


BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us