European Commission: Commission proposes to provide €5.9 billion in financial support for Portugal under SURE

The European Commission has presented a proposal to the Council for a decision to grant €5.9 billion in financial support to Portugal under the SURE instrument. This follows yesterday’s proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support of €81.4 billion to 15 Member States under the SURE instrument. Including Portugal, the Commission is now proposing to provide a total of €87.3 billion in financial support under SURE to 16 Member States. Once the Council approves this proposal, the financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to Portugal. These loans will assist Portugal in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment. Specifically, they will help Portugal to cover the costs related to its short-time work scheme. SURE is a crucial element of the EU’s comprehensive strategy to protect citizens and mitigate the severely negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Commission continues to assess a formal request for support from Hungary and expects to put forward a proposal shortly. (For more information: Marta Wieczorek – Tel.: +32 229 58197; Enda McNamara – Tel.: +32 229 64976; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)

 

Programme d’aide en faveur de la communauté chypriote turque: la Commission adopte un deuxième programme d’action pour 2020

La Commission adopte aujourd’hui un deuxième programme d’action concernant l’aide à la communauté chypriote turque. Ce deuxième programme d’action porte sur un montant de 31,6 millions d’euros et vise à soutenir de nouveaux projets facilitant la réunification de Chypre. Il vient s’ajouter aux 5 millions d’euros déjà approuvés plus tôt cette année. Elisa Ferreira, commissaire à la cohésion et aux réformes, a déclaré à ce propos : « Les projets relevant du programme d’aide visent à améliorer les infrastructures, à soutenir le développement économique, à favoriser la réconciliation et à rapprocher les Chypriotes turcs de l’Union européenne. Je suis convaincue qu’ils contribueront aux efforts déployés en faveur d’une réunification de Chypre, qui est l’un des principaux objectifs de notre aide. » Parmi les priorités du programme figurent le soutien à la préparation et au financement de projets d’infrastructure clés, ainsi que le soutien en faveur de la protection de l’environnement. D’autres mesures sont prévues pour améliorer le réseau électrique utilisé par la communauté chypriote turque et pour mettre en place un plan de relance économique, assorti d’un soutien à court et long termes, axé sur une économie plus verte, durable et résiliente, en réponse à la crise économique causée par la pandémie de COVID-19. Un soutien sera également apporté à l’amélioration de la sécurité sanitaire des aliments, à la fourniture de données statistiques, à l’enseignement spécialisé et à l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie. En vue de renforcer la confiance entre les communautés turque et grecque à Chypre, le programme continuera de fournir un financement important au Comité des personnes disparues et au comité technique sur le patrimoine culturel. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici(Pour plus d’informations: Tim McPhie – Tél.: +32 229 66712; Veronica Favalli – Tél.: +32 229 87269)

 

Coronavirus response: Cohesion policy continues to support Italy’s recovery

The European Commission has approved the modification of Tuscany’s Operational Programme in Italy, redirecting €154.7 million from the European Regional Development Fund towards coronavirus-related measures. Of this amount, €10 million will be used to strengthen the health sector, €141 million to support SMEs and €3.7 million for digitalisation in schools. In addition, the EU co-financing rate will be increased to 100%. This will help beneficiaries of the funding to overcome liquidity scarcity in the implementation of their projects. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “As one of the most affected countries by coronavirus in Europe, I am glad to see that Italian regions are more and more taking advantage of the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. It shows the comprehensive approach we need to respond effectively to people’s needs in such hard times: from health to economy as well as education, in line with our motto not to leave anyone behind.” Tuscany has been among the first regions in Italy to benefit from cohesion policy flexibility, now exceptionally possible thanks the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII). (For more information: Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 66712; Veronica Favalli – Tel.: +32 229 87269)

 

EU telecom rules: Commission publishes proposals on voice termination rates and relevant markets

Today, the European Commission has published two draft proposals of harmonisation tools, as part of the new EU telecom rules. The draft Delegated Act on single maximum Union-wide voice termination rates (so called “Eurorates”) is now open for public feedback for a four-week period. It sets maximum Eurorates that telecommunications operators can charge each other to deliver voice calls between their networks. The corresponding rates, one for fixed and one for mobile services, will ensure a more integrated and competitive cross-border environment in EU telecoms markets, which will ultimately benefit consumers in the form of lower prices and more varied offers for fixed and mobile calls. In order to prepare the Delegated Act, in 2019, the Commission conducted a public consultation. The Commission also publishes today for information the draft Recommendation and its accompanying Explanatory Note on Relevant Markets. This recommendation sets out the list of product and service markets within the telecommunications sector that are not fully competitive and therefore require regulatory intervention across the EU. Based on the public consultation, carried out in 2019, as well as an external study and stakeholder workshops, the Commission has identified markets that are key for providing broadband services both for consumers and  for businesses. Both proposals have been sent to the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) for their opinion and to the relevant Member States’ regulatory authorities. Member States have to transpose the new EU telecom rules into their national legislation by 21 December 2020. The Commission will adopt two final proposals by that time, after having received the BEREC opinions and feedback from stakeholders.  More information is available here and here(For more information: Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 229 66953; Marietta Grammenou – Tel.: +32 229 83583)

 

Coronavirus : la Commission européenne a conclu des discussions préliminaires avec Moderna en vue de l’achat d’un vaccin potentiel contre la COVID-19

Moderna est la cinquième entreprise avec laquelle la Commission a conclu des discussions, après Sanofi-GSK le 31 juillet, Johnson & Johnson le 13 août, CureVac le 18 août et AstraZeneca, avec qui un contrat d’achat anticipé a été signé le 14 août. Le contrat envisagé avec Moderna permettrait à tous les États membres de l’UE d’acheter le vaccin et également de faire des dons à des pays à revenu faible ou moyen ou de le retransférer vers des pays européens. La Commission devrait donc disposer d’un cadre contractuel pour l’achat initial de 80 millions de doses pour le compte de tous les États membres de l’UE, ainsi que d’une option pour l’achat d’un maximum de 80 millions de doses supplémentaires, à fournir une fois que l’innocuité et l’efficacité d’un vaccin contre la COVID-19 auront été démontrées. La Commission poursuit des discussions approfondies avec d’autres fabricants de vaccins. Ursula von der Leyen, présidente de la Commission européenne, a déclaré à ce propos : « Après d’intenses négociations, la Commission européenne vient de conclure des discussions avec une cinquième entreprise pharmaceutique afin de permettre aux Européens d’accéder rapidement à un vaccin contre le coronavirus. Nous investissons dans des entreprises utilisant des technologies diverses, afin d’accroître nos chances de disposer de vaccins sûrs et efficaces. Nous poursuivons les discussions avec d’autres entreprises, car nous voulons nous assurer que les vaccins seront rapidement disponibles sur le marché. Les investissements européens dans les vaccins contre le coronavirus profiteront au monde entier et nous aideront à vaincre ce virus. » Stella Kyriakides, commissaire à la santé et à la sécurité alimentaire, a poursuivi en ces termes : « Le résultat auquel ont abouti aujourd’hui les négociations avec Moderna montre que nous respectons notre engagement d’obtenir l’accès à un vaccin sûr et efficace. Je suis ravie de constater que nous continuons à réaliser notre objectif consistant à disposer d’un portefeuille diversifié de vaccins, une nécessité pour garantir notre succès à terme et protéger nos citoyens contre le coronavirus. » Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici(Pour plus d’informations: Tim McPhie – Tél.: +32 229 58602; Darragh Cassidy – Tél.: +32 229 83978)

 

State aid: Commission approves €50 million Irish scheme to support beef sector affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €50 million Irish scheme to support the beef sector affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, will be open to farmers and companies active in the beef sector in Ireland. The scheme aims at helping the beneficiaries address the liquidity shortages and difficulties they have suffered due to the market disturbance caused by coronavirus outbreak. The Commission found that the Irish scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid does not exceed €100,000 per beneficiary as provided by the Temporary Framework for undertakings in the primary agricultural sector; and (ii) the scheme will run until 31 December 2020. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measures under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58387 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Arianna Podesta – Tel.: +32 229 87024; Giulia Astuti – Tel.: +32 229 55344)

 

State aid: Commission approves €97 million Czech scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved an approximately €97 million (CZK 260 million) Czech scheme to support companies which have been particularly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support, which will be open to companies of all size active in all sectors except the financial sector, will take the form of direct grants. The aim of the scheme is to help the beneficiaries address the liquidity shortages they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure will provide support for projects relating to (i) employee training, (ii) childcare facilities, rent for childcare facilities and upskilling of caregivers and (iii) wage subventions for jobs created for disadvantaged people and for jobs offered to previously unemployed people, in line with the objectives of the ‘Operational Programme Employment 2014-2020′. The Commission found that the Czech scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the aid will not exceed €100,000 per company active in the primary production of agriculture products, €120,000 per company active in the fishery and aquaculture sector, and €800,000 per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) the scheme is limited in time until 31 December 2020. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.58167 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. (For more information: Arianna Podesta – Tel.: +32 229 87024; Giulia Astuti – Tel.: +32 229 55344)

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