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Investment Plan supports SMEs in cultural and creative sectors in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland

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The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Estonian lender Finora Capital signed a €6 million guarantee agreement to unlock favorable loans for SMEs from the cultural and creative sectors in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. This guarantee will allow Finora Capital to develop a new product matching the specific needs of SMEs in cultural and creative sectors, develop competences in financing the cultural and creative sectors and expand into new markets.

The operation is enabled under both the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS GF), a guarantee scheme managed by the EIF on behalf of the European Commission, and the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), a part of the Investment Plan for Europe. This is the first CCS GF-supported operation in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “Today's support to cultural and creative companies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland is a great initiative, part of our joint efforts to offer concrete, quick and direct relief to small businesses and individual actors in the cultural and creative sector that have been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis. Now more than ever European SMEs and creators need support across Europe. I am very happy our financial tool is helping them to weather the crisis, power their creativity, and preserve Europe's rich and diverse cultural scene.” The press release is available here. The Investment Plan for Europe has so far mobilized €535 billion of investment across the EU, benefitting over 1.4 million SMEs in total.

Economy

Commission supports Estonia in increasing the efficiency of its transport sector

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The European Commission, in co-operation with OECD International Transport Forum (ITF), has been providing support to Estonia through the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) to help prepare a new transport and mobility development plan for the period 2021-2035. The result of the support project, an analysis of the transport sector in Estonia, was presented today during an event in Tallinn.

The analysis focuses on the main challenges and opportunities facing the Estonian transport sector and identifies the country's needs in terms of infrastructure and reforms. The final report provides recommendations to guide reforms and collects best practices from other Member States.

The outcome of the project should help Estonia develop better policy on transport and ultimately contribute to reduce CO2 emissions for the benefit of its people and businesses. The SRSP offers expertise to all EU countries for the implementation of growth-enhancing reforms. The support is based on request and is tailor-made for the beneficiary member state. Since 2017, the programme has been supporting over 1,000 reform projects in all 27 member states.

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Commission approves €4 million Estonian rent compensation scheme to support businesses affected by #Coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission approved a €4 million Estonian scheme to support businesses renting premises in shopping centres, in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020 and 8 May 2020.

The public support, which will take the form of direct grants, is intended to cover part of the rent due by businesses located in shopping centres. The amount of public support to which businesses will be entitled under the scheme will match, up to a maximum amount of 25% of the rent, the discounts that each lessor may decide to apply on the rents in view of the current crisis situation.

This aims at incentivizing the private sector to contribute towards the objective of mitigating the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The purpose of the scheme is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that non-essential businesses in shopping centres are facing due to the closure imposed by the Estonian state between 27 March and 11 May to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The Commission found that the Estonian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the support per company will not exceed the limits as set out in the Temporary Framework; and (ii) the scheme will run until 31 December 2020.

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.57403 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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#CitizensDialogue - Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans Estonia President Kersti Kaljulaid hold public debate online

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Today (8 May), with a view to the upcoming Europe Day, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Estonia President Kersti Kaljulaid (pictured) will hold a public online debate on Europe's defining moments.

They will look at the current crisis as an essential test of solidarity between member states and between citizens and how Europe can recover economically in a competitive, green and resilient manner and uphold the fundamental values that buttress our democracies.

The executive vice president and the president will take questions from an online audience about the current challenges we face, their concerns and their hopes for the future. The discussion will also cover how the EU and the member states have managed the crisis so far and what it means for Europeans, partly in the context of the lessons learned from the economic crisis in 2008-2009.

You can follow the debate live on the website of the European Commission Representation in Estonia or its Facebook page or watch via EbS and ask questions by attending the event either on the virtual stage (pre-registration needed) or via slido (instructions here).

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