Germany’s Virus Aid Is More Than Half Total for Entire EU

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(Bloomberg) --

The European Union said Germany accounts for more than half the 1.95 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion) in Covid-19 state aid approved by EU regulators, in a sign that the bloc’s biggest economy is far outspending poorer nations to help its national companies survive the pandemic.

EU spokeswoman Arianna Podesta said the aid figure was “a best estimate” as many countries didn’t give total budgets on subsidies they plan to give and others may yet increase initial budgets. Aid covers direct grants and also loan guarantees and subsidized loans.

“There are huge differences in the amount of state aid granted by member states which appears linked to the fiscal space they have as well as to the respective sizes of their economies,” Podesta said at an EU press conference on Monday. The numbers include data from the U.K., which is still subject to EU rules despite leaving the bloc earlier this year.

Germany’s Virus Aid Is More Than Half Total for Entire EU

he state-aid data follows repeated warnings from competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager that differences among EU countries’ coronavirus aid packages are a cause for concern and that they may distort markets.

The European Commission will propose creating an instrument to recapitalize companies across the EU as part of a recovery plan on May 27. The goal is to restore a level playing field between deep-pocketed member states such as Germany that have showered their firms with state aid and others such as debt-addled Italy that can’t match that spending power.

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