The European Commission has provided member states with the flexibility to financially support health care systems, businesses and societies in general. The EC has pledged that every available euro in the EU budget will be redirected to address it, every rule will be eased to enable the funding to flow rapidly and effectively. With a new solidarity instrument, the EC will mobilise around €100 billion to keep businesses running.
One of the most notable EU support actions that could be used for the Baltic businesses seeking financing is the amended EU-funded investment program – the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus. It allows all non-utilised support from the cohesion policy funds to be mobilised to address the effects of the public health crisis on member state economies.
Certain procedural steps linked to programme implementation and audit have been simplified in order to grant flexibility, ensure legal certainty and to reduce administrative requirements.
The EC has inter alia proposed the following:
- give the exceptional and temporary possibility for member states to request for cohesion policy programmes a co-financing rate of 100% to be applied for the accounting year 2020-2021;
- create additional flexibility to transfer resources between the cohesion policy funds, and between categories of regions;
- exempt member states from the need to comply with thematic concentration requirements, to enable a redirection of resources to the areas most impacted by the current crisis.
In our view, the 100% EU funding exception is an especially interesting opportunity for the businesses to explore, since no national co-financing is required. That means potentially easier access to funds, without going through the lengthy discussions of investment programs and national budget approval processes.