How governments across the EU are stabilising business and mitigating the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus.
UPDATED 17th APRIL
The federal government has announced supportive measures (referred to as the Covid-19-Fondsgesetz) with a total volume of€38 Billion, such as:
● An extended possibility to use short-time work due to force majeure allowing companies to oblige their workers to up to two weeks leave that has accumulated in the past two weeks.
● Safeguarding ongoing credits through bridging liability schemes
● Hardship Fund for Individual Enterprises (EPU) up to a maximum of 2000 € per month
● Crisis Fund to help “particularly strongly affected industries”
● Employers are not obliged to release the employees from work to take care of their children.
● Measures to protect tenants who cannot pay their rent from eviction and financial support for low-income families
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Austria has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
● 9 April: € 15 billion Austrian liquidity scheme to support the economy in the coronavirus outbreak
There has been, however, criticism regarding the financial support, claiming that measures and competences remain vague or incoherent, with no prospect to immediate relief and unclear eligibility. Furthermore, priority seems to be given to industries ‘directly’ affected (e.g. restaurants) at the expense of those only ‘indirectly’ affected by the crisis which evokes the impression of a two-class approach.
· 17 April: Austrian guarantee schemes to support SMEs affected by the Coronavirus outbreak
A list of measures has been specified by the federal government:
· The regular option of short-time and temporary unemployment work related to “force majeure” has been facilitated, extended and reinforced; no more distinction between unemployment for economic reasons or for force majeure
· Automatic extension of payment periods for personal income tax (PPI) for individuals and particularly affected businesses for up to two months.
· the Belgian government is addressing the COVID-19 crisis by a €8-10bn bn (about 2% of the Belgian GDP) fiscal package and a €50bn (approximately 10% of the Belgian GDP) of guarantees for new bank loans to companies and self-employed. Some of the key fiscal policy measures are;
o the boost for health expenditure
o increased assistance for the temporarily unemployed and the self-employed
o and liquidized support through the postponement of social security and tax-payments for companies and self-employed.
· in addition, the Belgian regional governments are committed to provide additional subsidies to firms and sectors that are concerned, and to further guarantees for bank loans. Belgian authorities have issued a postponement of debt repayment, a ban on short-selling stocks until mid-April, and banks’ countercyclical capital buffer to 0% until June when 0.5% will become effective. No further exact measures have been published to the public yet.
(Fédération Walloni-Bruxelles) is essentially competent for audiovisual media and press: a measure to allow organizations to receive subsidies to obtain those earlier than usual and based on a simplified procedure is in the pipelines, according to the minister of medias
On 3 April, the Ministry of Finance announced a new measure to support business during the COVID-19 outbreak. The measure applies to income tax prepayments made by Belgian companies and self-employed individuals:
· To help businesses facing liquidity problems, the Government decided to increase prepayment credits for the third and fourth quarter to 6,75% and 5,25% respectively. This support measure should make the postponement of income tax prepayments to the second half of the taxable period less disadvantageous
· As the increased prepayment credits are meant to support businesses with liquidity problems, the increased prepayment credits will not apply to companies that carried out a share buyback, capital reduction or dividends distribution between 12 March 2020 and 31 March 2020
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Belgium has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 10 April: Guarantee scheme of up to €3 billionto support the Flemish economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 11 April: Belgian scheme deferring payment by Walloon airports of concession fees to mitigate economic impact of Coronavirus outbreak
· 11 April: Belgian guarantee scheme mobilising €50 billion supportfor companies affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· The revised 2020 budget allows for a BGN 3.5 budget deficit and BGN 10 billion on newly incurred public debt. The government increased the liquidity in the banking system by BGN 7 billion to extend corporate loans and provide interest-free loans to employees on unpaid leave.
· The government has informed the public of a financial package worth of Лв4.5bn levs (€2.3bn, deemed insufficient by the PM) as financial support for businesses, including an increase of capital to the state-owned Bulgarian Development Bank
· 60% wage coverage for those employees in the affected sectors who would have been laid off otherwise, including social security contributions
· The government plans to extend its support to the media outlets: the state will pay 60% of the salaries for media outlets that have been forced to cut staff
· Bulgaria will grant unsecured interest-free loans of up to BGN 1,500 (€760) for all workers who are on unpaid leave due to the state of emergency, which represents €120 more than the country’s average gross salary; the state will also pay 60% of the wages of employees of companies who were forced to temporarily close their businesses.
· Corporate taxes are deferred until June 30 and a moratorium on bank loan payments is under discussion.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Bulgaria has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 8 April: the EC approved a €255 million guarantee scheme to support SMEs, but on the same day the Government dismissed the managing board of the state-funded Bulgarian Development Bank, responsible for providing the guarantees.
· 15 April: the EC approved a €770 million wage subsidies support scheme for preserving employment in the sectors most affected by the Covid –19 confinement measures
By 25 March, a total of 63 economic measures has been introduced. In a second economic relief package, measures designed to ease the burden for the private sector have been concretized on 3 April.
● A number of them towards SMEs, but no specification yet; there are negotiations in place with banks about suspending loan payments, and also launched crisis-loans with minimum interest rates for small businesses.
● Key fiscal measures:
○ deferral of public obligations, free of interest for three months, suspension of a selection of parafiscal charges, interest free loans to their local governments
○ Businesses whose work has been challenged or disabled during quarantine will be exempted from all tax obligations for April, May and June. Those companies that are recording 20-50% lower profits can apply to postpone payment by up to 24 months.
○ Most affected businesses are granted delays for VAT, income tax, or any other form of tax; VAT payment will be charged only after the invoices will have been charged but this does not translate into a VAT exemption
● Key labour market measures:
○ Croatian Health Insurance Institute and the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute to cover the deferred payments, subsidization of net minimum wages to 400,000 workers, for three months, to preserve jobs, and refund of taxes for individuals (with a possible extension up to 6 months)
○ State is going to cover the minimum wage which has been lifted from HRK3,250 to HRK4,000 and is supposed to cover more than 400,000 workers
○ State is going to cover all additional contributions for workers on condition that employers keep them in their jobs (worth 8.5 billion HRK)
● Some of the EU Structural and Investment Fund beneficiaries will be granted larger payments in advance
● EU funds package is reallocated to cover micro loans, a new credit line with accompanied measures to ensure faster disbursements of loans with a decreased interest rate, and increased partial risk guarantees
● Businesses in state-owned property are exempt of paying rent
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Croatia has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 6 April: €790 million Croatian guarantee scheme for companies with export activities affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· 9 April: €1 billion Croatian schemes to support companies affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· The Government announced on 15 March 2020, a first package of € 700 mn budgetary support:
o €450 mn will have a net financial impact
o €250 mn will relate to business liquidity over the next two months
· On 18 March, the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) announced a release of capital and liquidity buffers for banks directly supervised by the CBC (€100 million), simplification of documentation requirements for new short-term loans and other credit facilities, encouraging banks to apply favorable interest rates
· On 27 March, a package of € 422 mn was approved by the Parliament:
o €100 million support for the health sector
o income support for households, leave allowance for parents, unemployment allowance for workers made redundant for the crisis.
o support for affected businesses to maintain jobs, support for the tourism sector, and deferring VAT payments due in two months
o three-month suspension of a scheduled increase in the contribution to the General Healthcare System
· On 29 March, the Parliament passed a bill providing a general moratorium on loan repayments for all creditworthy borrowers until end-December 2020.
The Czech government has announced fiscal package of CZK 100bn (€3.7bn, 2% of their GDP). As of 7 April, the following measures are in place:
· Amendment to the Act on the Czech National Bank (CNB), which eases the existing restrictions on open market transactions
· Extension of the deadline for the filing of tax returns until 1 July (standard deadline: 31 March) and remission of any fines stemming from the late submission of tax declarations or reports.
· Amendment to the State Budget Act for 2020. It counts with total revenues of 1,488.3 billion CZK and expenditures of 1,688.3 billion CZK.
· Compensation Bonus, which will directly support self-employed persons with the amount of CZK 25,000, paid conditionally.
· Moratorium proposal on the repayment of loans and mortgages signed before 26 March 2020, which will be binding on all banks and non-banking companies.
· Companies who were forced to close their premises due to government orders, will be entitled to postpone their rents. The deferral will apply from 12 March to 30 June and deferred payments will have to be paid back within 2 years. Also, a ban on ending the rent contract of people who are not able to pay rent due to financial distress caused by Covid-19 epidemic.
· To reduce the impact of the economic downturn, the proposal to create a financial reserve of 4% of GDP for 2021 and then consolidate public finances in the following years, has been approved.
· Bill to mitigate the impact of the crisis in the tourism sector, which aims to help travel agencies, who are threatened with bankrupt.
· Adoption of so-called Liberation packages (fiscal measures):
o Liberation Package I: state will not impose fines for late submission of personal and corporate income tax return, for late payment of a tax claim and for late submission of control tax reports.
o Liberation Package II: excuse of the June advance on personal and corporate income tax, state will not impose fines for late submission of real estate property tax return, introduction of Loss carry back and suspension of the obligation to electronically record sales for entities in all phases of EE
· Adoption of a program to support companies called Antivirus, in which the state will contribute to employers' salaries
o Companies have to fulfill several conditions, for example they must strictly follow the Labour Code, employees must not be in probationary period and employer has to pay wages and all lawful contributions.
o They also have to prove that the liquidity problems are connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
· To keep the employment rate, State will provide 100 billion CZK in direct support and 900 billion CZK in indirect in the form of guarantees.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Czechia has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 15 April: €37 million Czech aid scheme to support investments by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the production of products that are relevant to the Coronavirus outbreak.
· Discretionary fiscal support of approximately DK 60bn (€8bn):
o DKK 285bn (€38,2bn) has been appropriated in a number of “relief packages” to support businesses and workers until 9 June: delayed VAT payments and labour contributions, increased tax account limit, salary guarantees and sick leave payments, and cash flow assistance and loan guarantees
o Temporary liquidity measures, including postponement of tax payments and government guarantees have been issued for the first two quartiles of the year.
o The government is committed to support 90% of wages of hourly workers and salaried workers are covered up to 75% wages: salaried employees, who are sent home but not fired, will be 75% refunded up till DKK 30.000 per month
· The Danmarks Nationalbank introduced new lending facilities, reduced interest rates, capital buffers and activated and increased the swap line with the ECB.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Denmark has adopted State Aid Measures under Article 107(2)b TFEU:
· 12 March: €12 million Danish aid scheme to compensate damages caused by cancellations of large public events due to COVID-19 outbreak
· 8 April: €5.4 billion Danish aid scheme to compensate companies particularly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Denmark has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 21 March: A €130 million Danish guarantee scheme for SMEs
· 30 March: €130 million Danish guarantee scheme for SMEs with export activities affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· 1 April: €200 million Danish loan in support of the Travel Guarantee Fund for travel cancellations due to Coronavirus outbreak
· By 25 March, the Estonian government is considering a €2bn (7% of the GDP) economic support package aimed broadly at alleviating the consequences of the impact of the virus, in particular:
· for the health sector (but also media) and for the support of workers and businesses.
· The Estonian government has advised the news media sector to make use of the general measures put in place. It therefore rejects the idea of media-specific measures.
· On 3 April, the Estonian government submitted its supplementary budget bill to the Riigikogu on Thursday. To mitigate the effects on the crisis, local governments will receive €30 million, with another €100 million earmarked for economic recovery.
o The Unemployment Insurance Fund labor market support measure and other Kredex measures have a positive fiscal impact on the budget of local authorities. If a company can continue paying its workers, the local government will continue to receive income tax due to the measures
o €70 million was earmarked for cities and parishes for additional investments, for example repairing, renovating and demolishing buildings, renewing street lightning, etc. €30 million will be used to upgrade roads
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Estonia has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 30 March: €1.75 billion Estonian schemetosupport economy in coronavirus outbreak
· Discretionary government tax and spending measures include:
o health care sector, including testing, protection and medical equipment, public safety and border controls, and research on the Coronavirus epidemic, mainly to develop methods for rapid diagnostics and vaccines and a knowledge base for timely decision-making on Coronavirus measures, (especially on the exit strategy) (€200m);
o lower pension contributions through the remainder of 2020 (€900m);
o grants to SMEs through Business Finland and the Employment Centres (€1bn);
o other possible emergency measures (€200m) + support liquidity through investing in short-term Finnish corporate commercial paper (€1 billion)
· In addition to discretionary measures, automatic stabilisers are expected to raise the fiscal deficit by 2.4% of GDP, including an expansion of the coverage of existing unemployment benefit. Moreover, deferral of tax and pension payments for 3 months are foreseen to provide short-run relief of €3-4.5 bn.
· The Finnish media asked for temporary VAT returns on subscription sales or, as an alternative, zero VAT rates
· Extended delay for some companies (microenterprises) and the self-employed to pay social charges, taxes, rent and utility bills (but not VAT)
· Aid of 1500 Euros for the microenterprises and independent/self-employed workers in sectors which are heavily impacted by the measures e.g. hotels, restaurants, tourism, cultural activities, sport and transport. An additional aid of 2000 euros can be granted to farmers, to companies (if the company has employees and if there is a threat of bankruptcy)
· Mobilization of 300 Billion Euro to support companies that may need help with cash flow.
· Special measures for partial unemployment for all workers and companies heavily impacted: companies can amend workers’ contracts and change their status’ into “partial unemployed” workers. Such a measure reduces the costs for the companies. The French State made the commitment to pay in order to maintain 100% of the minimum wage and 84% of the salary, should it exceed the minimum wage.
On 23 March 2020 the French Parliament has adopted a new piece of legislation in order to face the COVID-19 crisis. The French Government did also legislate by decree on 25 March. The new pieces of legislation include:
● The second round of the municipal election has been delayed
● The creation of a state of health emergency. The state of health emergency has been declared until 24 May 2020. During a state of heath emergency, the Prime minister can take strong measures:
○ Containment measures,
○ Prohibition of gatherings of people, etc.
● The creation of a solidarity fund
● The amendment of French Labour Law: Workers in some essential sectors (such as agri-food sector or media sector) will have to work 60h a week for at least 2 weeks (instead of 48h). The employee cannot refuse these terms for at least 2 weeks, else the employer can proceed with the termination of the employment agreement.
● In a preparatory meeting on 1 April, national envoys discussed ESM’s instruments. France proposed to issue a joint debt.
● 3 April: Aurore Bergé (MP) made a proposal to grant tax support to advertisers. The French Government has not stated on it yet but has announced it would not take special measures during the crisis. FNPS (a press syndicate) and SEPM (an editor syndicate) stand for this proposal, as SRI (an Internet syndicate) which have stated that advertising revenue might be –80% lower in April 2020.
· The French GDP has dropped by 6% in the first quarter of 2020 according to the French central bank.
· On 9 April the French Ministry of Economy and Finance stated:
o that companies will be provided protective masks in a more simple way
o French protective masks production will be strengthened
· On 15 April the French government boosts COVID-19 emergency fund to 110 billion euros:
o The French government has expanded its coronavirus rescue package to include bonuses for health workers, funds for poor families and additional aid for the unemployed to assist them through the COVID19 lockdown
o The measures are to be included in a revised budget bill which will have to be approved by the Parliament. They include 8 billion euros for the healthcare system, including four billion to pay for face masks
o Healthcare staff in areas most affected by the COVID-19 are to receive a bonus of 1500 euros as well as higher pay than usual for working extra hours
o The package earmarks one billion euros for emergency aid to more than four million households, including special assistance of 150 euros per family receiving welfare benefits as well of 100 euros per child for the same families and those already on housing benefit
o 24 billion euros in total for laid-off workers in the private sector, as well as seven billion for small businesses and independent workers, rounded out the measures affecting those out of work because of the lockdown.
o The Prime Minister said the measures were based on a revised economic forecast for 2020 anticipating an 8% loss of GDP, a deficit of 9% and debt of 115% of GDP. He stated: “this revised budget bill will also oblige us to revise our macro-economic forecast in a period of high uncertainty”
· On 16 April a decree has been adopted on partial unemployment in the press sector, among others:
o Freelance journalist may benefit of a compensation if they could not work normally
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, France has adopted State Aid Measures under Article 107(2)b TFEU:
· 31 March: French scheme deferring payment by airlines of certain taxes to mitigate economic impact of coronavirus outbreak
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, France has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 21 March: Three French measures mobilising €300 billions of liquidity support for companies
· 30 March: €1.2 billion French “Fonds de solidarité” scheme for small enterprises in temporary financial difficulties due to Coronavirus outbreak
· On 12 April: €10 billion French guarantee scheme to support domestic credit insurance market in Coronavirus outbreak
· On 15 April: prolongation and modification of the French “Fonds de solidarité” scheme for small enterprises in temporary financial difficulties due to Coronavirus outbreak
In general, the following options are available for businesses (a more extensive overview of available economic aid can be found here):
· Loans, depending on the annual turnover, with public banks (e.g. KfW on federal level and others on regional level; application through the business’ principal bank) with improved conditions on liability and interest rates to ensure businesses’ liquidity
· Regional tax and social charges deferral (a list of regional measures can be found here)
· Immediate grants for SMEs, self-employed and free lancers
o New program “KfWSchnellkredit 2020” launched providing liability free loans to SMEs without extensive eligibility checks
· Late payment penalties are waived through the end of 2020. Advance payments for income tax and corporate tax are delayed until June 10. Trade tax advance payments are delayed until May 15
· Up to € 4,000 for consulting costs without any company-own contribution for SMEs and members of the liberal professions in the coronavirus crisis
· Current debate: implementing a reform to the solidarity tax (a 5.5% surcharge on high-income earners) in 2020 rather than in 2021 as previously planned
· In addition, parliament has approved a €156 billion emergency budget proposed by the government, which comes in addition to the regular €362 billion budget. The money supports hospital and nursing homes as well as citizens and companies. The Bundestag also suspended the debt break which is written into constitution.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Germany has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 22 March: Two German measures providing liquidity in the form of subsidised loans to companies of all sizes up to €1 billion per company
· 24 March: German guarantee measure to further support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 24 March: German direct grant scheme to support companies affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· 2 April: Extension of German scheme for subsidised loans to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 11 April: Amendments to previously approved German schemes to further support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 14 April: German guarantee scheme to stabilize trade credit insurance market in Coronavirus outbreak
· A list of sectors directly affected (SDA) by the crisis has been drawn up by the Ministry of Finance with specific measures aimed at their support
· The Greek government has announced a series of additional tax breaks and financial assistance adding up to now €6,8 billion to boost the country’s economy.
· Deadline for payment of current insurance contributions and installments for February and March has been extended to end of April.
· VAT payments due at the end of March are suspended for four months and companies’ social security contributions will be suspended until June 30. VAT
reduction will be 6% from 24% for products related to preventing spread of Coronavirus.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Greece has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 3 April: €2 billion Greek guarantee scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak.
· 7 April: €1 billion Greek scheme providing repayable advances to support the economy in the coronavirus outbreak
· 8 April: €1.2 billion Greek scheme providing grants for SMEs to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
While the 2020 budget is being revised, several revenue measures were already introduced to alleviate the fiscal burden on businesses:
● employers' social contributions will be lifted in the most affected sectors;
● the health care contributions will be lowered through June 30;
● around 80,000 SMEs (mainly in the services sector) will be exempt from the small business tax (the payment of the tax by other companies in affected sectors will be deferred until the end of the state of emergency);
● the tourism development contributions will be temporarily cancelled;
● media service providers will be given a tax relief for incurred losses of advertising revenue; and, procedures for collecting tax arrears will be suspended during the state of emergency. On the spending side, about HUF 25bn (0.06%of GDP) was reallocated for the healthcare sector.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Victor Orbán has announced a new set of economic measures on job retention and creation, promising an additional set of measure later on:
· reallocating 18-20% of GDP incl. programs launched by the Central Bank and increasing the country’s budget deficit from 1% to 2.7% this year
· compensation of employers for wage costs related to shortened working hours, the country will support investment into the country’s economy with a €1.24 billion package
· plans to support so-called “priority sectors”, which include the tourism, health, construction, agriculture, transport, film and creative industries
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Hungary has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 8 April: €140 million Hungarian scheme to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 17 April: €1 billion Hungarian aid schemeto support companies affected by the Coronavirus outbreak
· Wide ranging relief programme to €3bn:
o waiving interest on late tax payments and a suspension of the relevant contracts tax
o Broad lending authority and specific relief for temporary layoffs
o Employers who temporarily lay off their employees due to the crisis will be eligible to get a refund from the tax authority for €203 per week for payments to those laid off workers.
· On 24 March the Government announced a National Covid-19 Income Support Scheme to provide financial support to Irish workers and companies. It also announced a range of measures to support businesses:
o financial supports, including a €200 million Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland Working Capital scheme; a €200 million Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms;
o deferral of Business Rates: The Government has agreed with local authorities that they should defer rates payments due from the most immediately affected businesses, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, until the end of May;
o taxation measures to alleviate short-term difficulties: Revenue has also posted specific advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19 including information on tax returns, the application of late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.
· The authorities announced a comprehensive fiscal package of €7.2 billion:
o COVID-19 Wage Subsidy scheme: refunds employers up to 70% of an employee's wage – up to a level of €410 to allow employers to pay their employees; there is no obligation on employers to top up the 70% payment and it is available to employers from all sectors.
o COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit of €350 per week for medically-certified self-quarantined individuals (for a maximum of two weeks)
o Pandemic Unemployment Payment: a payment available to all employees and the self-employed who have lost employment due to a downturn in economic activity at a flat rate of €350 per week
o liquidity support for affected businesses has been increased to €1 billion.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Ireland has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· On 31 March: The European Commission approved a €200 million Irish scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
· On 16 March, the Government signed an encompassing Decree called “Cure Italy” that considers all sectors of the economy hit by the COVID-19 consequences and sets a total of € 25 billion. This decree ensures greater liquidity and credit up to € 350 billion, postponed payments and deadlines and supports all categories of workers including independent and seasonal.
· Tax deadlines have been extended for residents and companies; all tax payments due between 23 February and 30 April were extended, and tax credits will be granted to companies that suffer a 25% drop in revenues. Businesses will receive a 50% tax credit for sanitation expenses.
· On 28 March, the government disponed € 4.3 billion to the municipality solidarity fund, specifically reserving € 400 million for people who cannot afford groceries. They also said they are going to discuss non-essential productive industries starting this week, however responsibility towards citizens comes first so there is no time-frame yet. .
· On 6 April, a decree set new economic and financial measures for a total of € 400 billion in state guarantees available for loans, equally divided between internal market and export: €200 million for banks that finance enterprises of any size:
o Firms with less than 5000 employees and a turnover of less than € 1.5 billion will receive a coverage of 90% of the requested amount; coverage decreases for bigger firms or firms with a higher turnover
o € 30 billion are reserved to SMEs of any size including one-person enterprises; the protection fund for SMEs has been reinforced both in capital and in financing capabilities for providing liquidity to SMEs
o Measures to support the survival of enterprises that had a positive balance-sheet and softer terms for insolvency procedures
o Suspension or postponement of VAT and taxation payments and contributions for turnovers under € 50 million that experienced a drop in revenues of at least 33%
· It is possible for firms to deduct from taxation 30% of all investment for advertisement on newspaper and digital media
· Kiosks will also be able to deduct up to 4000 euros to cover for utility bills and home deliveries
· Decree on 10 April: starting 14 April, some non-essential activities can re-open respecting with safety requirements: bookstores, stationery and paper shops, apparel for newborns and children, electronic components, forestry, trains and planes maintenance, international organizations.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Italy has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 22 March: the European Commission approved a € 50 million support scheme for the production and supply of medical equipment
· 25 March: the European Commission has approvedthe Italian State guarantee supporting a debt moratorium from banks to SMEs affected by the outbreak; a decree accounting for EU funds is expected in April
· 14 April: the EC approved two state aid schemes: a guarantee schemeto support self-employed workers, SMEs and mid-capsfor loans up to €800,000 per company and a €200 billion guarantee schemeto support the economy.
The government announced a support package equivalent to €1bn (3% of GDP) to support businesses and employees, including through tax holidays and sick pay leave.
The measures aim to relieve sectors suffering losses as a result of the coronavirus crisis by covering 75% of employees’ wages from the state budget with the maximum monthly payment per employee set at €700.
· On 20 March 2020 the Latvian Parliament passed a special law on support measures to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law enters into force retroactively, as of 12 March 2020, when a state of emergency was declared in Latvia:
o State-funded salaries to employees of companies in selected industries
o Possibility to suspend tax payments for 3 years to companies in selected industries
o Protection for companies in financial difficulty: until 1 September 2020 the law limits creditor’s right to file insolvency applications and allows certain procedural protection for debtors
o Faster repayment of overpaid VAT (repayment in 30 days to all companies is mandated by the law, etc.
· On 2 April, Janis Vitenbergs was approved as the new Economy Minister of Latvia.
· On 3 April, according to unofficial information from LETA, Latvia’s State budget revenue in March has dropped 7,2% with the spread of COVID-19 crisis:
o General budget revenue in March was planned at EUR 725 million
o But according to available data revenue was 673 million (generating a shortage of EUR 52 million)
· On 6 April, the Governor of the Bank of Latvia Martins Kazaks stated that Latvia’s economy will drop 2-3 percentage points every month because of restrictions adopted to restrict the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
· On 7 April, Latvian Finance Minister Janis Reirs reported that the volume of support available in Latvia to finance preventive measures to overcome COVID-19 crisis has reached four billion euros.
· On 8 April, to reduce the COVID-19 crisis in agriculture sector Latvia’s government will divert €45,5 million, as agreed by Finance Minister Janis Reirs’ work group for support of entrepreneurship and employed people.
· On 9 April, Latvian government supports idea to support municipal companies during crisis. Municipalities in Latvia will have the right to receive state budget loans to increase base capital of municipal companies if their turnover drops more than 50% because of COVID-19 crisis, as provided by amendments supported by the Cabinet of Ministers.
· On 9 April, the Nordic Investment Bank lends Latvia €500 million to battle COVID-19. The NIB and the Republic of Latvia have signed a loan contract on provision of €500 million for ten years:
§ It will finance a portion of Latvian government’s additional expenditures (such as support measures for employees of companies, etc.)
§ Funding is also provided for future efforts to stimulate the economy (including capital investments, additional activities to support businesses affected by the pandemic the most, as well as SMEs in the form of turnover funds or guarantees)
· On 15 April, Latvian government considers adopting unemployed persons aid benefit. This support would be paid if a person fails to find a job after the end of the period of payments of unemployed benefits.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Latvia has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 23 March: €250 million Latvian subsidised loan scheme and loan guarantee scheme for companies affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· 16 April: €35,5 million Latvian direct grant scheme to support agriculture, fishery, food and school catering sectors in Coronavirus outbreak
Lithuania has delayed the corporate tax and filing deadline until 30 March:
· Businesses can revise their corporate income tax calculations based on projections for 2020 rather than the previous year’s results
· Personal taxes have also been delayed from 4 May to 1 July. Additionally, the government has announced an overall fiscal package of 2.5bn euros (5%of GDP). Within this amount, spending measures by the government amounts to 1.1bn euros (2.3%of GDP) which includes:
o additional funds for the healthcare system and emergency management (500meuros)
o additional funds for caring for the sick and disabled, including for parents of school children who now need to stay home, and support for the self-employed (550m euros), and
o co-financing climate change investment projects (about 20% of € 250m).
· On 16 March the Ministry of Finance has submitted a plan to the Government together with the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, the Ministry of Health, and the Bank of Lithuania: 10 % of the country’s GDP will be allocated for the implementation of all measures, which will amount to EUR 5 billion:
o EUR 500 million to ensure necessary resources for the efficient operation of health and public security systems
o EUR 500 million for jobs and personal income protection
o EUR 500 million to maintain business liquidity
o EUR 1 billion to boost the economy
o The Economic and Financial Action Plan provides for the right for the Government to borrow an additional EUR 5 billion ·
· On 31 March 2020, amendments to the Labour Code related to downtime were adopted by the Parliament. However, decisions on wage subsidies were postponed until another Parliament’s session (7 April) :
o There is no work due to emergency and quarantine (e.g. non-food store is closed)
o For the 1st day of downtime: 100% of average salary; 2nd day – 3rd day of downtime: 2/3 average salary; 4th day and all subsequent days: 40% of average salary
o Employee’s salary during the downtime cannot be lower than the minimum salary in Lithuania: 607 EUR gross (for full-time employees)
· On 8 April, Lithuanian Prime Minister, Saulius Skvernelis, promised to mitigate quarantine after Easter and allow small businesses to go back to normalcy, some key public health executives are bristling against the idea, maintaining the measure would b premature and could perhaps result in a second wave of the virus.
· During the same week, the Lithuanian Government was enabled by the Parliament (Seimas) to regulate prices of essential goods during quarantine. Under the new law, the Government’s Emergency Situation Commission will compile a list of essential goods and services. Their accessibility will then be monitored by the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority. If there are shortages or unwarranted inflation of prices, the Government could introduce price controls and rationing. The amendment must still be signed into law by President Gitanas Nauseda, who previously criticized the initiative. The Bank of Lithuania and the Competition Council have also expressed disapproval of the measure
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Lithuania has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 8 April: €110 million Lithuanian guarantee scheme to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 10 April: €150 million Lithuanian schemes to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
Luxembourg is allowing:
· businesses to file requests for cancellation of the first two quarterly tax payments for 2020 (for corporate income and municipal business taxes)
· a four-month deadline extension (for corporate income, municipal business, and corporate net wealth taxes) for all payments due after 29 February, 2020.
The government announced:
· a fiscal package of €1.75bn (2.8%of GDP)
ALFI, the Luxembourg association of investment funds revealed that over €1,2 billion had been wiped out due to the current crisis and that it expects losses to be even worse in the future.
The Government has set up a stability programme. It takes the form of a public-private partnership and has 21 key measures designed to help companies remain visible.
· €8.8 billion (14% of the country’s GDP) has been made available to give businesses breathing space and will allow companies to access credit, get grants and defer outstanding payments
· The association of CEOs has been mobilized, as well as six banks (Spuerkeess, BGL, BNP Paribas, ING, Bil, Raiffeisen and Banque de Luxembourg), who have agreed to accept a large burden of the credit risk of SMEs and independent businesses.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Luxembourg has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 24 March: €300 million Luxembourg schemeto support companies affected by Coronavirus outbreak
· 27 March: Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 8 April: €30 million Luxembourg schemeto support research and development and investments in the production of Coronavirus relevant products
· On March 18, the government announced a €1.8 bn package that covers €210 mn of spending measures, including:
o Additional €35 mn to healthcare budget;
o allowances to support quarantined households and individuals unable to work from home
o wage subsidies for businesses and self-employed persons that have suspended or reduced operations;
o special unemployment benefits;
o increases in rent subsidies for unemployed individuals.
· Liquidity injection and bank guarantees of up to €1.6bn consisting of:
o Deferrals of tax payments for income tax, VAT, social security and maternity fund contributions up to €700 million
o €150m of bank guarantees
o €750m of soft loans
· Possibility of requesting a 3-month moratorium for personal and business loans.
· Government guarantees up to €900m thereby making credit of €4.5bn available.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Malta has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 2 April: €350 mn guarantee schemeto support the economy
· created a blanket three-month delay for payroll, income, and corporate tax payments along with VAT. Late payments will face a reduced interest cost of 0.01%
· provided support for businesses that see a 20% reduction in revenues, at 90% of wage costs
· created a €4,000 compensation payment available to businesses that were forced to close temporarily, and an expansion of government guarantees for loans to small and medium-sized businesses.
· has not announced specific measures
· The Netherlands stated that the ESM should only be considered as a lender of last resort: the reference to the respect of EU fiscal rules is “not enough” and the conditionality needs to look at the specificities of each country.
· In a preparatory meeting on 1 April, national envoys discussed ESM’s instruments during which was presented a Dutch initiative to set up a €20 billion fund to cover health-related costs
· On 8 April Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra outlined that there must be “certain economic conditions” for “long-term economic support” via the ESM, citing the potential use of a “memorandum of understanding” for those in receipt of loans
· Despite the Netherlands’ position, on 9 April the Eurogroup has reached a deal on on a €540 billion rescue plan.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Netherlands have adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 3 April: €23 million Dutch schemetosupport the economy in the current Coronavirus outbreak
· Poland has extended the deadline for the new SAF-T VAT regime from April 1 to July 1, also allowing accelerated VAT refunds.
· The personal income tax deadline is extended by one month, and businesses can apply to defer social security contributions for three months.
· Poland is offering VAT filers to apply for a liabilities write-off or a payment deadline extension.
· In addition to these changes, there is a roughly PLN 212billion relief package aimed at supporting the economy and the health-care system.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Poland has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 4 April: Polish scheme enabling public guarantees up to €22 billion to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak on existing or new loans outbreak accessible to medium and large Polish companies active in all sectors
· 8 April: €700 million Polish loan and guarantee scheme to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 10 April: €115 million Polish scheme to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
The Portuguese government will deliver its stability programme by 15 April. In March the central bank assumed that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is “significant due to the longer paralysis of economic activity in several countries”, foreseeing a GDP drop of 5,7%. If this scenario materializes, the Portuguese GDP will fall more than in the worst year of the financial crisis: in 2012, the GDP fell 4%.
The Portuguese government has:
· suspended social security contribution payments for companies affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. VAT and withholding tax payment schedules can be
adjusted for businesses with less than €10m in revenues in 2018 or a 20%reduction in revenues.
· Key fiscal measures contained in the 18 March fiscal package include:
o €3.0bn (1.4% GDP) of state-guaranteed credit lines for medium, small and micro enterprises in affected sectors, operated through the banking system
o €5.2bn (2.5% GDP) of (within-year) tax deferrals for companies and employees
o €1.0bn(0.5% GDP) of relief from social security contributions
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Portugal has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 22 March: Four Portuguese guarantee schemes with a total budget of €3 billion for SMEs and midcaps in sectors especially hard hit by the Coronavirus outbreak
· 4 April: €13 billion Portuguese schemes to support economy in Coronavirus outbreak
· 8 April: €20 million Portuguese credit line schemeto support fishery and aquaculture sector in Coronavirus outbreak
Key tax and spending measures announced so far about 2%of 2019 GDP include
· additional funds for the healthcare system,
· covering partially the wages of parents staying home for the period the schools are closed, and
· measures to support businesses including covering in part the wages of workers in danger of being laid off for an initial period of one month. In addition, the government is providing initial RON10bn of guarantees—equivalent to 1%of GDP—for loan guarantees and subsidized interest for working capital and investment of SMEs.
· Other measures include faster reimbursement of VAT, suspending foreclosures on overdue debtors, suspending tax authorities’ control, postponement of property tax by three months, and others.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Romania has adopted State Aid Measures under the EC Temporary Framework:
· 11 April: €3.3 billion Romanian scheme to support SMEs in Coronavirus outbreak
Slovakian Prime Minister Igor Matovic has announced seven measures to compensate businesses and individuals. These measures include
· payment of 80% of an employee’s salary for closed/closing down businesses, and monthly bank guarantees of €500 million to enable refinancing
Key measures currently under consideration include
· deferral of various tax payments (including PIT, CIT and VAT), i.e. an automatic tax payment deadline extension of up to three months
· and temporary relief from social security and health insurance contributions;
· enhanced support for affected workers and businesses through easing conditions of social insurance programs and state subsidies for retention of jobs;
· negotiations with banks to postpone repayment of loans for citizens and businesses; and
· measures to ease administrative burden on businesses and relax labour code requirements. There are currently no estimates of the size of these fiscal measures.
Several modifications to allowance measures were made, introducing:
· allowance to care for a family member in an extraordinary situation available to parents for children up to 11 years of age or up to 18 years of age if the child has a long-term health condition (like a disability) and an allowance for parents of children up to 16 years of age with doctor's confirmation
· a new allowance "quarantine sick leave" covering be 55 percent from the first day, paid by the state-run social insurer Socialna Poistovna. (Currently, sick leave is paid by the employer for the first ten days: 25 percent for the first three days, 55 percent after that.)
Furthermore, the government has introduced
· a contribution for employers for keeping a work position financed through the European Social Fund or from the state budget; amount and the conditions are yet to be set.
· aid for the self-employed, including artists, also coming from the European Social Fund or the state budget, available to all the self-employed persons who had to end or limit their activities due to the Coronavirus, details are yet to be set
· A short-tracked legislative procedure to issue an exception for notaries and attorneys to be able to provide their services while legal deadlines will be halted at courts, applying to the period from March 12 - April 30 for now
The authorities have announced an economic stimulus package of € 1 bn (2.1 % of GDP)on 9 March, approving a range of tax and spending measures that include:
· tax deferrals for up to 24 months or tax payments in installments in 24 months
· wage subsidies for suspended workers due to pandemic-related closures and quarantined people (about €50m)
· government guarantees and credit lines available for financial support to the affected businesses, particularly SMEs (€600m)
· In addition, the government issued a decree to reduce electricity prices by about 20% for the next three months to ease the impact of the pandemic.
· On 18 March, Spain announced a package worth 200 billion Euros to help companies and workers. Half of the measures are State-backed credit
guarantees for companies, and the rest include loans and aid for vulnerable people. 117 billion will come from the State, the rest from private companies.
· Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates in the EU and more than half jobs depend on SMEs: the government will temporarily suspend mortgages and pay benefits to laid-off workers and foresees the need for a reconstruction budget after the pandemic.
· It is approved the distribution of the Extraordinary Social Fund among the Autonomous Communities accounting to €300m to strengthen social and family care policies, especially for the most vulnerable.
· Measures for companies and self-employed: development of the announced €100bn liquidity system; however, for now the Council of Ministers only approved a fund of €20bn to cover liquidity needs (salaries, working capital, etc.). Half is for SMEs and self-employed and the guarantee given by the Official Credit Institute (ICO) will cover 80% of the loans granted. The other half will cover the guarantee of 70% of the loans of the rest of companies or 60% in the case of renewals.
· Allowance for affected self-employed workers; temporary subsidy for household employees with an amount equal to 70% of their contribution base; a temporary monthly allowance of about EUR 430 for temporary workers whose contract expires during the state of emergency; additional budgetary funds of €300 million and further budget flexibility for the provision of assistance to dependents.
· Tax payment deferrals for SMEs and self-employed for six months (€14 billion); 50 percent exemption from employer’s social security contributions, from February to June, for workers in the tourism sector; a 6-month interest-free suspension of social security contributions for the self-employed (April-June)
· Mortgages and rent payment moratorium for the most vulnerable groups
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Spain has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· On 24 March, The Commission has approved two guarantee schemes for companies and self-employed workers with a total budget of €20 billion
· On 2 April, the Commission approved a national “umbrella scheme” to support the economy during the outbreak
Announced fiscal package amounts from SEK 380 bn to SEK 668 bn depending on uptake
o additional expenditures on wage subsidies for short-term leave
o increase in transfers to relevant agencies to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and its repercussions
o temporary payment of sick leave by the government
o capital injections to SMEs
o extra funding to the cultural sector and sports associations (SEK 16.9bn)
o the possibility to defer a maximum of three-month worth of payments of companies’ social contribution fees, VAT and payroll taxes for a period of up to 12 months
· The central bank has promised to lend 500 billion SEK (€50 billion) with zero percent interest over two years to help companies. The Swedish supervisory authority has also announced that they will allow banks to lower buffers which will open up an additional €80-90 billion for loans to companies.
· Introduction of short-term layoffs: employers’ wage costs can be halved, in that central Government will cover a larger share of the costs and the employee receives more than 90% of their wage
· It is proposed that central Government assume the entire cost of all sick pay during April and May. Self-employed persons will also be compensated in that they can receive standardized sick pay for days 1-14.
· Under this proposal, companies can defer payment of employers’ social security contributions, preliminary tax on salaries and value added tax that are reported monthly or quarterly.
· Company payment respite covers tax payments for three months and is granted for up to 12 months.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, Sweden has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 2 April: the Commission approved a € 9.1 billion guarantee scheme to support the economy during the outbreak
· 11 April: the Commission approved a € 455 million guarantee scheme to support airlines affected by the outbreak
· 15 April: the EC approved a € 453 million rent rebate scheme supporting tenants working in hotels, restaurants, retail and other affected activities.
On 17 March, the UK government announced a rescue package worth £330 billion to assist businesses struggling with the effects of COVID-19, including:
· Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, with access to government-backed loans of up to £5 million for UK businesses with no interest for the first six months and a 80% guarantee provided by the government
· a 12-month break from business rates, deferring VAT payments for the next quarter until the end of the financial year, and cash grants of up to £25,000 for businesses of any size within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors
· support to all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress
· payment of 80% of the salary of furloughed employees (max. £2,500 per employee per month) for an initial period of 3 months
· UK tax and spending measures have been published
o additional funding for the NHS and other public services (£5bn);
o measures to support businesses (£27bn), including property tax holidays, direct grants for small firms in the most-affected sectors, and compensation for sick pay leave;
o strengthening the social safety net to support vulnerable people (by nearly £7bn) by increasing payments under the Universal Credit scheme and through expansion of other benefits.
· support plan for self-employed: the government will pay self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of average income, up to £2,500 a month starting in June
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, the United Kingdom has adopted State Aid Measures under the Temporary Framework:
· 25 March: The European Commission has approved two separate UK State aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): the first
will cover 80% of loan facilities for SMEs, the second sets GBP 600 million for direct support to SMEs directly affected by the outbreak
· 6 April: the Commission approved £50 billion UK “umbrella” scheme to support the economy in the Coronavirus outbreak
Updated as of 17 April 2020