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Coronavirus: EU supports member states with transport of essential supplies

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The Commission continues to provide further financial support to six member states through the Mobility Package of the Emergency Support Instrument amounting to over €14 million, for the transport of COVID-19 vaccination-related equipment and COVID-19 therapeutics. This comes on top of the €150m already made available for the transport of essential medical items since last year.

Shipments funded by the Mobility Package include the transport of intensive-care drugs to Belgium, and of syringes and needles to Italy. The other recipients of EU funding are Austria, Czechia, Romania and Slovenia. In total, more than 1,000 flights and 500 deliveries were funded.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “Supply chains and deliveries of medical equipment continued to be supported by the EU. From beginning of the pandemic, the Emergency Support Instrument has proven a valuable tool in our joint fight against COVID-19. Through this latest package, we have financed the transportation of essential supplies, to help save the lives of patients and boost national vaccination campaigns.”

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Background

The Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) is part of a wider range of instruments providing EU assistance, such as the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, including rescEU; the Joint Procurement Procedures and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, while it also complements the national efforts of the member states.

ESI enables the European Union to support its member states when a crisis reaches an exceptional scale and impact, with wide-ranging consequences for the lives of citizens. In April 2020, ESI was activated to help EU countries address the coronavirus pandemic. ESI continues to provide fundamental assistance.  

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Between April and September 2020, in the first call for the funding of cargo transport, ESI made €150 million available to 18 member states and the UK for the transport of essential medical items. This funding supported more than 1000 flights and 500 deliveries by road and sea, containing life-saving personal protective equipment, medicines and medical equipment.  By the end of June 2021, a total of €1.15 million were awarded for the transport of 293 medical personnel and 35 patients.

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Commission approves €1.8 million Latvian scheme to support cattle farmers affected by the coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €1.8 million Latvian scheme to support farmers active in the cattle-breeding sector affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. Under the scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The measure aims at mitigating the liquidity shortages that the beneficiaries are facing and at addressing part of the losses they incurred due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that the Latvian government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework.

In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €225,000 per beneficiary; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. 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 scheme 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.64541 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Commission approves €500,000 Portuguese scheme to further support the passenger transport sector in Azores in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €500,000 Portuguese scheme to further support the passenger transport sector in the Region of the Azores in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. It follows another Portuguese scheme to support the passenger transport sector in Azores that the Commission approved on 4 June 2021 (SA.63010). Under the new scheme, the aid will take the form of direct grants. The measure will be open to collective passenger transport companies of all sizes active in the Azores. The purpose of the measure is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing and to address losses incurred over 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictive measures that the government had to implement to limit the spread of the virus.

The Commission found that the Portuguese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the aid (i) will not exceed €1.8 million per company; and (ii) will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. 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 of 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.64599 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

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Commission authorizes French aid scheme of €3 billion to support, through loans and equity investments, companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic

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The European Commission has cleared, under EU state aid rules, France's plans to set up a € 3 billion fund that will invest through debt instruments and equity and hybrid instruments in companies affected by the pandemic. The measure was authorized under the Temporary State Aid Framework. The scheme will be implemented through a fund, titled 'Transition Fund for Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic', with a budget of € 3bn.

Under this scheme, support will take the form of (i) subordinated or participating loans; and (ii) recapitalization measures, in particular hybrid capital instruments and non-voting preferred shares. The measure is open to companies established in France and present in all sectors (except the financial sector), which were viable before the coronavirus pandemic and which have demonstrated the long-term viability of their economic model. Between 50 and 100 companies are expected to benefit from this scheme. The Commission considered that the measures complied with the conditions set out in the temporary framework.

The Commission concluded that the measure was necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of France, in accordance with Article 107 (3) (b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the temporary supervision. On this basis, the Commission authorized these schemes under EU state aid rules.

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Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager (pictured), competition policy, said: “This €3bn recapitalization scheme will allow France to support companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic by facilitating their access funding in these difficult times. We continue to work closely with member states to find practical solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic while respecting EU regulations.”

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