Don’t Get Hooked on ‘Painkiller’ State Aid, Vestager Warns EU

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European governments risk getting hooked on doling out subsidies after promising trillions of euros to rescue industries ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager warned.

“State aid is a painkiller that helps mask the symptoms but eventually will wear off -- and we must be careful not to get addicted,” she told a meeting of government officials on Monday. “It may be quite some time before we go back to the life we had in 2019,” she said.

The 27-nation EU is planning a landmark 1.8 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) budget and stimulus program that could add 2% to the EU’s economic output in the coming years.

Vestager said the EU was ready to advise governments how to make “investments go to the right places” and avoid crowding out private investment for infrastructure such as internet broadband or 5G networks.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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