Council of the European Union gives 'green light' to temporary program against unemployment

This instrument constitutes one of the three “safety nets” of the emergency response package to the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, and will provide up to € 100 billion in soft loans to Member States.

The ambassadors of the 27 member states to the European Union reached a political agreement this Friday on the 'Sure' program, the new temporary instrument created to safeguard jobs in the context of the covid-19 crisis, the Council announced.

This instrument constitutes one of the three “safety nets” of the emergency response package to the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, and will provide up to € 100 billion in soft loans to Member States, to help them finance sudden and large increases in public spending related to measures to combat unemployment, such as national working time reduction schemes.

Member States that decide to access these loans can declare expenses since 01 February.

At the most recent European Council, held on April 23 by videoconference, the Heads of State and Government approved the emergency package agreed by the Eurogroup for a global amount of 540 billion euros, and requested that all instruments be operational by 01 June.

In addition to the 'sure' program, the “safety net” for workers, the package consists of a “network” for companies - a pan-European guarantee fund from the European Investment Bank - and another for States, the line credit card of the European Stability Mechanism, whereby Member States can claim up to 2% of their GDP for expenditure directly or indirectly related to healthcare, treatments and prevention of covid-19.

Last Tuesday, the European Trade Union Confederation (CES) had urged member states to adopt at this week's ambassadors meeting the program to safeguard jobs, arguing that it would arrive “too late to make a difference” if it were not for signed this week.

To illustrate the urgency of adopting this program, CES uses a survey published the day before by Eurofund, according to which 28% of European workers lost their jobs, either temporarily or permanently, due to the crisis caused by the covid-19.

After today's approval of the 27, at the level of ambassadors, the program will be formally adopted by the Council through a written procedure, which is scheduled for next Tuesday.

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