BRUSSELS – Greece will get €2.73 billion from the European Union’s temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) program, the European Commission announced on Monday.
The Commission said in a statement that it has “presented proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support of €81.4 billion to 15 member-states” through low-rate loans averaging 15 years.
SURE, proposed by the Commission in early April 2020, was adopted by member-states on May 19; it can provide financial support of up to €100 billion in total to all member-states. The support will be available, in installments, until the end of 2022.
Greece asked the Commission for SURE funding on August 6, focusing on five categories of expenditure to support employment and employees’ incomes: first, the special compensation for private sector employees whose contracts were suspended because of the pandemic; second, the cost of these employees’ social security contributions during the contract suspension; third, the allowance for the self-employed; fourth, the short-term subsidy of jobs for businesses that have lost a significant part of their turnover in the pandemic; fifth, the subsidizing of employers’ social security contributions to seasonal employees.
“We must do everything in our power to preserve jobs and livelihoods... SURE is a clear symbol of solidarity in the face of an unprecedented crisis. Europe is committed to protecting citizens,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.
Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas tweeted that Greece was one of the program’s beneficiaries.
In fact, the bulk of SURE money will go to Italy (€27.4 billion) and Spain (€21.3 billion), followed by Poland (€11.2 billion), Belgium (€7.8 billion) and Romania (€4 billion). Greece is in sixth place among the 15 beneficiaries. The Commission will decide on the applications of Hungary and Portugal in a few days. The interest rate for all loans will be determined later.