15:45 GMT16 April 2021
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    Loans have been provided to member-states to boost national "short-time work schemes" and self-employed workers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and several other financial concerns, the bloc announced on Tuesday.

    The European Commission has disbursed €13bn of its funding from its Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) instrument to six EU member-states, it announced on Tuesday.

    The funds are the third of six such disbursement for 2021 and covers €1bn in Czechia, €2.2bn in Belgium, €4.06bn in Spain, €2.47bn in Ireland €1.87bn in Italy and €1.4bn in Poland, with Ireland receiving its first funds from the programme.

    17 EU member-states have received roughly €75.5bn under the SURE programme and the Commission has proposed €94.3bn in support to 19 nations under the programme, including a further €3.7bn for the six countries receiving funds.

    EU states can request financial support from the programme, which has a total of €100bn in funding. The Commission will seek a further €13-15bn in funds for the second quarter of 2021, it said.

    “The crisis is tough on many workers, who fear for their jobs. This is why we have created SURE, to mobilise €100 billion in loans to finance short-time work schemes across the EU,” Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

    Lagarde Statements on NextGenerationEU Funding

    The news come after European Central Bank (ECB) chief Christine Lagarde told Sputnik at the Reuters NEXT event in January she expected an optimistic outlook and economic rebound in the bloc.

    Citing the bank's November Financial Stability Review, she said numerous situation had been taken into account for the estimates.

    "At the start of the uncertain items, we had issues like Brexit. Will it be resolved? Will it be hard or soft? What kind of arrangements will we have? We had obviously the outcome of the US elections and, more importantly, of the [US] Senate elections as well, and we had very little certainty about the approval of the various vaccines that would lead to vaccinations", Lagarde explained at the time.

    The news comes after the Commission issued a sixth bond on 23 March at €8bn due for repayment in March 2026 and €5bn in May 2046.The €750bn NextGenerationEU programme should be rolled out rapidly to members across the EU, she urged.

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    Tags:
    Ursula von der Leyen, Christine Lagarde, EU-funding, funding, European Commission, European Union (EU)
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