First tranche of €6 billion ‘SURE’ business loan to arrive in Portugal on Tuesday

The first tranche of the €5.9 billion SURE programme of loans from Brussels – to help Portugal through some of the rigors of the pandemic – will be arriving tomorrow.

Said European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen today: “I have good news for Portugal…”

The programme has been designed so that businesses do not have to put their staff on lay-off, even if there is not enough work for them to do.

“We will subsidise salaries”, explained Von der Leyen, stressing the money will keep viable businesses in operation so that when the crisis has passed and the market has improved “they can accept orders because they have the workforce in place within the company”.

SURE is an instrument that means to reduce the risk of unemployment in situations of emergency.

Explain reports, the full programme involves three emergency response safety nets approved by the Council of Europe on April 23.

In total, finance ministers devised a €540 billion package of measures to help businesses and States.

The latter tranche will allow countries to request up to 2% of GDP to cover expenses directly or indirectly related to healthcare, treatments and prevention of Covid-19.

But for now, it’s the moment for workers, and an opportunity for businesses to soldier on through the crisis and hopefully reach better days.

Reacting to the transfer of funds, prime minister António Costa tweeted that they will also help independent workers and be used to reward SNS healthcare staff.

Also today, Brussels approved a €750 million package of State aid to Portugal for micro and small businsesses, to be distributed through the Apoiar Restauração (support restaurants) and Apoiar Portugal (support Portugal) schemes.

Both these schemes allow for grants to be paid to businesses in the restaurant, hospitality, tourism and culture sectors. The news will come as a boost to the nine members of the Bread & Water movement, still camped outside parliament hoping for a word with either Mr Costa, or his economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira.

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