European Commission gives green light to €17bn in state aid for Portuguese companies

The European Commission has given the green light for €17 billion in state aid to help Portuguese companies in difficulty.

“For Portugal, so far, €17 billion have been approved and I know that tourism is very important for the whole economy of Portugal. These millions of euros are going towards helping companies and preserving jobs, also in the Azores and Madeira,” the European commissioner of Justice, Didier Reynders, told Lusa news agency in Brussels.

Didier Reynders explained that, due to Covid-19, the commission is approving “more liquidity for the different sectors most affected by the crisis”, such as tourism, but also to “safeguard consumer rights” at a European Union level.

“I know that there are great difficulties in the tourism sector, with tour operators, airlines, hotels and restaurants, but in EU legislation there is a right to a refund and, of course, we need to ensure that it is respected,” Reynders added.

The measures approved for Portugal include the recently approved programmes “Support Restaurants” and “Support.PT” which, together, provide €1.2 billion for companies in the sectors most affected by the crisis, such as commerce, restaurants, culture, accommodation and tourism.

Other measures include employment support schemes in the Azores and Madeira.