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Jobs and economy during the coronavirus pandemic

Our first priority is the health of our citizens. At the same time, the coronavirus crisis is a major shock for the European and global economies. Member States have already adopted budgetary, liquidity and policy measures to increase the capacity of their health systems and provide relief to those citizens and sectors that are particularly impacted.

EU economic response to coronavirus


Supporting businesses and securing jobs

The coronavirus crisis constitutes a challenge for the European economy and the livelihoods of citizens. During this health crisis, it is vital that we not only protect the critical sectors of our economy, but also our assets, technology and infrastructure, and more importantly, we need to protect jobs and workers.


The European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency

Protecting small and medium-sized businesses

The economic impact of the coronavirus crisis varies across industries and firms depending upon a number of factors, including the possibility to adapt to disruptions in supply chains, and the existence of inventories or reliance on just-in-time production processes.

The Commission is in close contact with national authorities, industry representatives and other stakeholders in order to monitor and evaluate the impact on European industries and trade. On 3 November 2021, the Commission published a report on how European businesses avoided bankruptcy in the wake of the pandemic.

Supporting the recovery of EU tourism

The tourism ecosystem has been hit hard by restrictions on movement and travel imposed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. To get it back on track, on 13 May 2020, the Commission proposed a series of measures that would allow for a gradual and coordinated reopening of tourism services and facilities, as well as specific support for tourism businesses:

Liquidity for tourism businesses, in particular small businesses

  • Flexibility under State aid rules allows Member States to introduce schemes, such as guarantee schemes for vouchers and further liquidity schemes, to support companies and to ensure that reimbursement claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic are satisfied.
  • EU funding: The EU continues to provide immediate liquidity to businesses affected by the crisis through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, under shared management with Member States. In addition, the Commission has made available up to €8 billion in financing for 100,000 small businesses hit by the crisis, with the European Investment Fund.

Questions and answers: Tourism and transport package

Reimbursement of flight vouchers imposed as compensation for cancelled flights

On 8 July 2022, the Commission and national consumer authorities concluded a dialogue with 16 major European airlines, for the reimbursement of over 500,000 flight vouchers that had been imposed on consumers as compensations for cancelled flights during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airlines committed to measures to bring their practice in line with EU consumer and passenger rights law, such as clearing reimbursement backlog, better informing consumers of cancellation-related rights, offering to exchange vouchers for money and reimbursing passengers in a timely manner. As a follow-up to the dialogue with the airlines, the Consumer Protection Network recently launched a dialogue on the practices of four major European airline intermediaries – eDreams ODIGEO, Etraveli, and Otravo – addressing information on consumer rights, reimbursements and intermediary customer service.

Protecting critical European assets and technology

On 26 March 2020, the Commission issued guidelines for Member States on foreign direct investment. The guidelines urge Member States to make full use of their investment screening mechanisms to address cases where the acquisition of European companies by investors from outside the EU would create risks.

The guidelines encourage Member States to screen direct investment from outside the EU in particular areas such as medical research, biotechnology and infrastructures.

Economic Forecasts

On 11 November 2022, the Commission published its Autumn 2022 Economic Forecast. The shocks unleashed by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine are denting global demand and reinforcing global inflationary pressures. Still, the potent momentum from 2021 and strong growth in the first half of the year are set to lift real GDP growth in 2022 as a whole to 3.3% in the EU (3.2% in the euro area) - well above the 2.7% projected in the Summer Interim Forecast.

As inflation keeps cutting into households’ disposable incomes, the contraction of economic activity is set to continue in the first quarter of 2023. Growth is expected to return to Europe in spring, as inflation gradually relaxes its grip on the economy. However, with powerful headwinds still holding back demand, economic activity is set to be subdued, with GDP growth reaching 0.3% in 2023 as a whole in both the EU and the euro area. By 2024, economic growth is forecast to progressively regain traction, averaging 1.6% in the EU and 1.5% in the euro area.

Growth map

Spring 2022 Economic Forecast

Winter 2022 Economic Forecast

Autumn 2021 Economic Forecast

Summer 2021 Economic Forecast

Spring 2021 Economic Forecast

Winter 2021 Economic Forecast

Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast

Summer 2020 Economic Forecast

Review of the EU economic governance

On 19 October 2021, the European Commission adopted a Communication that takes stock of the changed circumstances for economic governance in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis and relaunches the public debate on the review of the EU’s economic governance framework.

With this Communication, the Commission invites all stakeholders to reflect on the functioning of the economic governance and to present their views on how to enhance its effectiveness. The aim of the public debate is to build a broad-based consensus on the way forward well in time for 2023. The Commission will consider all views expressed during this public debate.

Economic Governance Review

Online consultation platform

Flexibility under the EU’s Fiscal Rules

The European Commission has, for the first time ever, activated the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact as part of its strategy to quickly and forcefully respond to the coronavirus outbreak in a timely and coordinated manner. This enables national governments to better support the national economies as the budgetary rules have been significantly relaxed.  

Following the approval of the Council, the general escape clause allows Member States to undertake measures to deal adequately with the crisis, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework. 

The measure represents an important step in fulfilling the Commission’s commitment to use all economic policy tools at its disposal to support Member States’ in protecting their citizens and mitigating the pandemic’s severely negative socio-economic consequences.

On 3 March 2021, the Commission adopted a Communication providing Member States with broad guidance on the conduct of fiscal policy in the period ahead. The Communication sets out guidance for coordinated fiscal policies in Member States, essential to support the economic recovery. It lays out principles for the proper design and quality of fiscal measures, as well as general fiscal policy indications in 2022 and over medium-term, including the link with funds of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. It also proposes the application of the general escape clause in 2022, until 2023.

20 MARCH 2020
Communication from the Commission to the Council on the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact
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3 MARCH 2021
One year since the outbreak of COVID-19: fiscal policy response
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Decisive actions by the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank

On 18 March, the European Central Bank’s Governing Council announced a new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme with an envelope of €750 billion until the end of the year, in addition to the €120 billion decided on 12 March. Together this amounts to 7.3% of euro area GDP. The programme is temporary and designed to address the unprecedented situation our monetary union is facing. It will remain in place until the crisis phase is over.

On 16 March, the European Investment Bank Group proposed a plan to mobilise up to €40 billion in financing. This will go towards bridging loans, credit holidays and other measures designed to alleviate liquidity and working capital constraints for SMEs and mid-caps. The European Investment Bank Group, including the European Investment Fund, which specialises in support for small and medium-sized enterprises, will work through financial intermediaries in the Member States and in partnership with national promotional banks. The proposed financing package consists of:

  • Dedicated guarantee schemes to banks based on existing programmes for immediate deployment, mobilising up to  €20 billion of financing;
  • Dedicated liquidity lines to banks to ensure additional working capital support for small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-caps of  €10 billion;
  • Dedicated asset-backed securities purchasing programmes to allow banks to transfer risk on portfolios of small and medium-sized enterprise loans, mobilising another €10 billion of support.


8 APRIL 2020
Framework Communication addressing the antitrust issues related to cooperation between competitors in COVID-19 related urgency situations
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12 MARCH 2020
Coordinated economic response to the COVID-19 Outbreak
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13 MARCH 2020
Proposal for a Regulation on Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative
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13 MARCH 2020
Proposal for a Regulation amending the solidarity fund regulation
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COVID-19 - Economic package, 2 April 2020

2 APRIL 2020
COVID 19- Economic package – multiannual financial framework 2014-2020
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2 APRIL 2020
COVID 19 - Economic package - Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE)
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2 APRIL 2020
COVID 19- Economic package - European Structural and Investments Funds
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2 APRIL 2020
COVID-19 - Economic package - Mobilisation of amounts from the Flexibility instrument for 2020
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1 APRIL 2020
Coronavirus - Using every available euro
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2 APRIL 2020
COVID-19- Economic package - Technical adjustment in respect of special instruments for 2020
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25 MARCH 2020
Guidance to the Member States concerning foreign direct investment
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