France spent more to help companies infected with the virus than Germany: EU data

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France spent more to help companies infected with the virus than Germany: EU data


FILE PHOTO: A woman, wearing a protective mask, walks past a closed arcaded restaurant on Rue de Rivoli in Paris amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in France, January 29, 2021. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France has supported its companies infected with the virus to the tune of 155.36 billion euros ($ 185.5 billion), just over a quarter of the 544 billion euros spent by EU countries to support business, with Germany in third place, European Commission data has shown this.

The EU has approved € 2.96 trillion in aid sought by governments to help farmers, the travel and tourism industry as well as businesses in different sectors. But only 544 billion euros have been disbursed, or 3.9% of the EU’s gross domestic product, according to EU figures.

The data covered the period from mid-March to the end of 2020 and referred to state aid granted in the form of direct grants, loans and guarantees and other instruments.

Aid approved by Germany amounted to 53% of the total of $ 2.96 trillion, raising concerns among some EU countries that Europe’s largest economy could give its companies an unfair advantage.

Italy, one of the most affected by the pandemic, has disbursed 107.9 billion euros, or 19.8% of the total aid paid, placing it in second place after France, according to data from the EU.

Germany disbursed 104.25 billion euros, followed by Spain with 90.8 billion.

When aid disbursed is calculated as a percentage of a country’s GDP, Spain leads the way with 7.3%, followed by France with 6.4% and Italy with 6.0%.

The European executive, responsible for ensuring a level playing field in the bloc of 27 countries, has so far authorized more than 570 national measures.

(1 USD = 0.8374 euros)

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Edited by Jane Merriman

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