The Commission has published its fourth bi-annual report on the implementation and impact of SURE, the €100 billion instrument designed to protect jobs and incomes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report confirms and extends the findings of the three previous bi-annual reports, namely that SURE was successful in cushioning the impact of the pandemic and supporting the recovery in 2021. National labour market measures supported by SURE effectively protected around 1.5 million people from unemployment in 2020. The protection of employment was crucial to facilitate the rapid economic rebound in 2021, which was faster than in previous crises. SURE helped to enable this by financing schemes to allow firms to retain employees and skills, and to help the self-employed to be ready to resume their activities immediately, as well as by boosting confidence across the EU.
A total of €93.3 billion of financial assistance to 19 Member States was proposed by the Commission and granted by the Council by the cut-off date of the report (end August). Almost €92 billion has been disbursed so far. SURE can still provide a further €6.2 billion of financial assistance to Member States (including the recent decision on Bulgaria after the cut-off date). This amount is likely to decrease markedly by the end of 2022, since the Commission has recently proposed top-up support for Croatia and Lithuania and several other Member States expressed an interest in receiving additional financial assistance. SURE is available until 31 December 2022.
SURE supported approximately 31.5 million people and 2.5 million firms in 2020. This represents almost one third of total employment and firms in the 19 beneficiary Member States. SMEs were the primary beneficiaries of SURE support. The most supported sectors were accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing. SURE continued to protect employment in 2021, in particular in the first half of the year, when the pandemic continued to wreak havoc, supporting approximately 9 million people and over 800,000 firms.
Almost all of the total planned public expenditure under SURE has now taken place. Half of this has been allocated to short-time work schemes, with one third allocated to measures for the self-employed. Member States have saved an estimated €8.5 billion in interest payments by using SURE, thanks to the EU’s high credit rating.
More information: Press release – European Commission