Connect with us

coronavirus

#Coronavirus – Finance ministers agree to the use of the ‘general escape clause’ of the Stability and Growth Pact 

Published

on

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, financministers discussed the flexibility of the Stability and Growth Pact on 23 March, and the communication presented by the European Commission on the economic aspects of the COVID-19 crisis on 20 March. 

Finance ministers issued a joint statement in which they agree with the assessment of the Commission that the conditions for the use of the general escape clause of the EU fiscal framework are fulfilled.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major economic shock that is already having a significant negative impact in the European Union. The consequences for our economies will depend both on the duration of the pandemic and on the measures being taken by national authorities and at a European level.

The severe economic downturn now expected this year requires a resolute, ambitious and co-ordinated policy response. We need to act decisively to ensure that the shock remains as short and as limited as possible and does not create permanent damage to our economies and therefore to the sustainability of public finances in the medium term.

EU member states' finance ministers agree with the assessment of the Commission, as set out in its Communication of 20 March 2020, that the conditions for the use of the general escape clause of the EU fiscal framework – a severe economic downturn in the eurozone or the Union as a whole – are fulfilled.

The use of the clause will ensure the needed flexibility to take all necessary measures for supporting our health and civil protection systems and to protect our economies, including through further discretionary stimulus and coordinated action, designed, as appropriate, to be timely, temporary and targeted, by member states.

Ministers remain fully committed to the Stability and Growth Pact. The general escape clause will allow the Commission and the Council to undertake the necessary policy co-ordination measures within the framework of the Stability and Growth Pact, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply, in order to tackle the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Today's agreement reflects a strong determination to effectively address the current challenges, to restore confidence and support a rapid recovery.

Austria

Commission approves modified Austrian liquidity assistance scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Published

on

The European Commission has found certain amendments to a previously approved Austrian liquidity assistance scheme to support Austrian enterprises affected by the coronavirus outbreak to be in line with the State Aid Temporary Framework. The original scheme was approved on 8 April 2020 under case number SA.56840, and provides for temporary limited amounts of aid in the form of (i) direct grants, (ii) guarantees on loans and repayable advances, and (iii) guarantees on loans and subsidized interest rates on loans.

The aim of the original scheme was to enable enterprises affected by the coronavirus outbreak to cover their short-term liabilities, despite the current loss of revenues caused by the pandemic. Austria notified certain modifications to the original scheme, in particular: (i)micro or small enterprises can now benefit from the measure even if they were considered in difficulty on 31 December 2019, under certain conditions; and (ii)an increase of €4 billion in the total budget of the scheme, from €15bn to €19bn.

The Commission concluded that the scheme, as modified, remains 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.58640 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Continue Reading

Conservative Party

Johnson to levy £10,000 fine on COVID-19 rule-breakers

Published

on

People in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 will face a fine of up to £10,000 ($12,914), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (19 September), writes David Milliken.

The rules will apply from 28 September to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious.

“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,” Johnson said in a statement.

Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work.

Some low-income workers who suffer a loss of earnings will receive a £500 support payment, on top of other benefits such as sick pay to which they may be entitled.

Current British government guidance tells people to stay at home for at least 10 days after they start to suffer COVID-19 symptoms, and for other people in their household not to leave the house for 14 days.

Anyone who tests positive is also asked to provide details of people outside their household who they have been in close contact with, who may then also be told to self-isolate.

To date there has been little enforcement of self-isolation rules, except in some cases where people have returned from abroad.

However, Britain is now facing a rapid increase in cases, and the government said police would be involved in checking compliance in areas with the highest infection rates.

Johnson has also faced calls to reintroduce more wide-ranging lockdown rules for the general public.

However, the Sunday Times reported he was poised to reject calls from scientific advisors for an immediate two-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, and instead reconsider it when schools take a late-October break.

Continue Reading

coronavirus

Ireland tightens Dublin COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

Published

on

By

The Irish government on Friday (18 September) announced strict new COVID-19 restrictions for the capital Dublin, banning indoor restaurant dining and advising against all non-essential travel, after a surge in cases in recent days. Ireland, which was one of the slowest countries in Europe to emerge from lockdown, has seen average daily case numbers roughly double in the past two weeks and significant increases in those being treated for the virus in hospitals, writes Conor Humphries.

“Here in the capital, despite people’s best efforts over recent weeks, we are in a very dangerous place,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a televised address to the country, announcing the restrictions.

“Without further urgent and decisive action, there is a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of this crisis.” The measures, which include a ban on indoor events, will last for three weeks, he said. Ireland had the 17th highest COVID-19 infection rate out of 31 European countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control on Friday, with 57.4 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.

The government reported three deaths from the virus on Friday, bringing the total toll to 1,792. Countries across Europe, including Britain, Greece and Denmark, on Friday announced new restrictions to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities. Ireland on Thursday tightened its COVID-19 travel restrictions by imposing quarantines on travellers from major holiday markets Italy and Greece.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Twitter

Trending