EU OKs millions in Polish aid to firms hurt by virus

The European Union’s executive has cleared a further package of Polish state aid to businesses harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

European flags flutter outside the European Commissions headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

European flags flutter outside the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.Photo: PAP/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

The European Commission said it “has approved a EUR 123 million (PLN 545 million) Polish scheme to support companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.”

The EU executive added it was giving the green light to the support under temporary state aid rules it adopted earlier this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commission said the Polish support package would take the form of “a reduction of the annual fee due for the perpetual usufruct” and “an exemption of the rent, lease or usufruct fees owed by companies that use publicly owned real estate for their business activities.”

The measure will apply to “both real estate owned by the Polish State and to that owned by local authorities, subject to their agreement,” the EU executive added.

“The objective of the measure is to mitigate the liquidity shortages that companies have experienced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak by reducing certain real estate fees they have to bear in connection with their business activities,” according to the statement on the ec.europa.eu website.

Green light from Brussels

The EU executive last week gave the go-ahead to a EUR 2.6 billion Polish measure to “protect companies’ liquidity needs” through factoring, a financial service that provides an alternative source of working capital.

The European Commission last month gave the green light to a Polish recapitalisation package of up to EUR 1.65 billion (PLN 7.5 billion) to support enterprises amid the coronavirus outbreak.

It said at the time that the Polish recapitalisation plan was part of a wider support programme aiming to offer a „financial shield” for large enterprises.

The European Commission at the end of May said it had approved a Polish plan to offer EUR 1.6 billion worth of state aid to large enterprises and SMEs to partially compensate them for losses suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak and to provide them with direct liquidity through loans.

The European Commission earlier in May approved a Polish plan to offer EUR 2.2 billion worth of state aid to large companies as well as EUR 450 million worth of help for companies hit by the coronavirus „through the provision of loans and state guarantees on loans.”

The EU executive in late April gave the green light to Polish state aid to businesses in the form of repayable advances, with a total budget of EUR 16.6 billion (around PLN 75 billion).

In early April, the EU executive gave the go-ahead to a Polish loan and guarantee plan aiming to support the economy to the tune of PLN 3.5 billion (around EUR 700 million).

‚Anti-crisis shield’

Poland’s president at the end of March signed into effect a multibillion relief and stimulus package aiming to shore up the economy and shield it from the impact of the coronavirus.

President Andrzej Duda in April signed into law a measure to offer further support to the nation’s economy amid a COVID-19 lockdown.

Polish lawmakers at the end of April backed a plan to expand the massive package of measures aiming to protect jobs and businesses.

Poland’s parliament in May approved more support to the economy as part of the government’s “anti-crisis shield.”

Polish lawmakers in June backed a new measure to protect companies, jobs, borrowers and local governments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in early April unveiled plans to throw a lifeline of at least PLN 100 billion (USD 24 billion, EUR 22 billion) to businesses hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

Massive cash boost from EU

The Polish prime minister earlier this year called for a “new Marshall Plan” for Europe to aid the continent’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Amid the pandemic, Poland stands to receive billions of euros from EU coffers in grants and loans under a massive recovery plan approved by EU leaders at the start of this week after a marathon summit in Brussels.

The new recovery fund, dubbed “Next Generation EU,” is expected to deliver EUR 390 billion in grants and EUR 360 billion in loans for member states, with the money borrowed on financial markets and repaid from the bloc’s budget.

A total of 44,416 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Poland, with 1,694 deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease so far, officials said on Wednesday.

(gs)

Source: IAR, PAP, ec.europa.eu

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