This Friday [13 March 2020], the European Commission has presented its guidelines in order to provide a prompt and efficient European response to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the EU economy.

Reacting to this package of measures, Valeria Ronzitti, CEEP General Secretary, said:

“We highly welcome the Commission’s effort to put in place a set of actions to mitigate the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. In particular, the flexibility-driven approach to the state aid regime and to the Stability and Growth pact will surely contribute to improve Member States’ margins of maneuver to offer relief to enterprises and workers.”

Our members, providers of public services and services of general interest, are highly affected, such as the healthcare sector – which clearly must be given ultimate priority right now – as well as transport and education. Additionally, public banks and financial institutions will suffer the pressure to adequately respond to this emergency and must have the proper tools and incentives at their disposal to safeguard liquidity ratios across Member States.”

Giving the appropriate support to those essential services is indispensable. Nevertheless, we are concerned that, apart from the tailored measures that are rightfully designed to assist the healthcare system, the Commission’s action plan announced today lacks a well-defined approach to public services and services of general interest, especially local public services enterprises with structures, staffing and budgetary capacities of SMEs.”

“Finally, the challenge we face today must be a lesson for the future. The EU must finally set up an institutional framework that allows for the efficient coordination among different levels of governance and enhances the EU’s leading role. Without such skeleton, our capacity to respond to shocks will remain short-termist and marginal.”

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