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Ireland received €2.47bn EU funds for COVID defense programs, including wage subsidies

DUBLIN: The European Union has also allocated funds to Ireland for COVID defense programs, including wage subsidies. The European Union (EU) yesterday approved an emergency COVID-19 loan of €2.47 billion to Ireland under last year’s wage subsidy scheme.

The Irish government is using the European Commission’s “SURE” fund for the first time to mitigate the impact of unemployment in emergencies. The EU funding was part of a wider €13 billion allocation on Tuesday, with the balance going to Spain (€4.06bn), Belgium (€2.2bn), Italy (€1.87bn), Poland (€1.4bn) and Czechia (€1bn).

The government had applied for a loan last October for the provision of a Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). Ireland will have to pay back the money to the European Union. However, the State is expected to benefit from the Commission’s favorable borrowing conditions.

Last October, the commission launched a €17 billion SURE funding programme that includes two long-term social bonds. It is also noted that this is the highest amount of debt ever issued in euro by a sovereign.

According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the fund “helps protect jobs and enables economies to recover faster from the crisis”. She added that the SURE fund includes short-time working schemes that cause a sharp increase in public spending.

“This is a welcome development, which supports jobs and workers and demonstrates the benefits of acting together in a time of crisis,” said Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

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