Support package to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on employment (SURE)

Submitted by Tedora Aibu on 18 May 2020

As part of its emergency support package to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU is setting up a temporary instrument to help workers keep their jobs during the crisis. As of the 15th of May, the European Council has announced the political agreement reached by EU ambassadors on SURE (Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency). SURE is a temporary scheme which can provide up to €100 billion of loans to the EU Member States under favourable terms. The instrument will enable member states to request EU financial support to help finance the sudden and severe increases of national public expenditure caused by the COVID-19 crisis. These measures can be related to national short-time work schemes and similar measures (including self-employed persons), or to some health-related measures, in particular at the workplace in response to the COVID-19 crisis

SURE is one of the three safety nets, worth €540 billion, for jobs and workers, businesses, and member states, agreed by the Eurogroup on the 9th of April 2020. EU leaders endorsed the agreement on the 23rd of April and called for the package to be operational by the 1st of June 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an exceptional challenge for Europe, as it has put many lives and livelihoods at risk. Beyond the public health implications, the outbreak has also caused massive economic and social disruption with many companies having to rely on public support to preserve employment. SURE will be a vital safety net to protect jobs and workers as it will ensure that member states have the necessary means to finance measures to tackle unemployment and loss of income, as well as some health-related measures. In order to provide requesting member states with financial assistance in favourable terms, the European Commission will raise funds on international capital markets on behalf of the EU. SURE loans will be backed by the EU budget and guarantees provided by member states according to their share in the EU's GNI. The total amount of guarantees will be €25 billion. While all member states will be able to make use of the instrument, SURE will act as a particularly important safety net for workers in the hardest-hit economies. Formally, the financial assistance will be granted by a decision adopted by the European Council on a proposal from the European Commission.

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