Almost €225bn paid out COVID-19 fund, says European Commission

Close to 225billion Euros ($243bn) in COVID-19 relief funding had been distributed to EU member states to date, the European Commission announced on Wednesday in a mid-term review.

Praising the fund’s successful impact on the European Union’s rebound from the pandemic, EU Economy Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni in a press conference rebuffed criticism that the package’s effects dropped off too soon.

“What is the main reason for this? Russia’s war of aggression, it’s as simple as that,” Gentiloni said, highlighting the economic disruption from the Ukraine invasion and the energy price crisis that followed.

Meanwhile, the reconstruction programme is intended to help EU countries get back on their feet after the pandemic, and involves the commission taking on debt on a grand scale on behalf of the EU as a whole.

The total fund, worth 800 billion Euros in the form of grants and loans, runs until 2026. The fund has to be paid back by 2058. It is the first time the EU has taken on debt together.

According to the commission’s economic modeling, the potential impact of the relief funds on the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth could be as high as 1.4 per cent by 2026 with the COVID-19 relief funds support.

However, the same modeling showed that the impact on the Greek economy could be as high as 4.5 per cent of GDP.

This is in line with the design of the programme, according to the commission, which was meant to support EU member states with lower incomes and which are more economically vulnerable.


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