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Parliamentary questions
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22 July 2020
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002119/2020

The Commission is prioritising certain actions from the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Strategy to provide support to them, including individuals and micro-companies, during the COVID-19 crisis and in the recovery phase(1).

To support the liquidity needs of SMEs, the Commission has boosted the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility (LGF)(2) and the European Investment Bank has created a EUR25 billion COVID-19 guarantee fund(3).

SMEs can also get support by the Enterprise Europe Network on partnerships, supply chain problems and EU financing available to them(4).

The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII)(5) and the CRII+(6) increased the flexibility in the use of European Structural and Investment Funds so that Member States could re-orient their funds to preserve jobs and thus reduce the risk of unemployment and loss of income.

The Structural and Cohesion Funds can rapidly intervene to support the employed, self-employed and SME. The national programmes and the regional ones can direct non-utilised support to address the crisis(7).

In addition, the new instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) will provide financial assistance up to EUR100 billion to Member States for the financing of national short-time work schemes and similar measures for the self-employed.

The Commission has put forward a State Aid Temporary Framework to allow support measures beyond de minimis(8) and it and the Council have provided flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact. Member States can provide the necessary support using these possibilities .

Finally, the Commission presented a major Recovery Plan for Europe(9) to repair and prepare for the next generation.

(1)More information on support provided to SMEs is available here: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/coronavirus-response_en
(4)Example : EEN COVID marketplace : https://care-industry-together-against-corona.b2match.io/
(5)Regulation (EU) 2020/460 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 March 2020 amending Regulations (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013 and (EU) No 508/2014 as regards specific measures to mobilise investments in the healthcare systems of Member States and in other sectors of their economies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak (Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative).
(6)Regulation (EU) 2020/558 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2020 amending Regulations (EU) No 1301/2013 and (EU) No 1303/2013 as regards specific measures to provide exceptional flexibility for the use of the European Structural and Investments Funds in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
(7)For expenditure declared for the 2020-2021 accounting year, following the notification of the revised financial table before submitting the first payment application and on the condition that the submitted programme modification is approved by the Commission at the latest before the submission of the final application for an interim payment.
(8)EUR 200 000 over a 3-year period.
(9)The package contains economic instruments to support the most vulnerable players and the investment in green and digital technologies to help kick-start the economy and create the conditions for a recovery.
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