Ireland must fully utilise EU Covid-19 supports for businesses – Troy
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Robert Troy has said that Ireland must fully utilise supports which have been made at EU level available for businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Troy has spoken, via conference call, to a cabinet member from the office of EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, who has remit for SMEs and start-up policy.
“Our conversation was constructive, and the message was clear,” said Deputy Troy, “the EU has put in place a wide array of measures including business supports to enable member states to design schemes to protect companies who are struggling.
“Under the new EU State aid flexibility, member states are now allowed to draw up schemes to directly grant-aid companies to address urgent liquidity needs up to €800,000.
“Despite this, Ireland has had schemes approved that take the form of repayable advances and has not sought grant aided schemes to date. I can’t fathom this when we know the extent to which businesses are struggling.
“We discussed the proposed European Recovery and Resilience Facility which offers huge opportunities to Ireland with supports available of over €300 billion in grants and up to €250 billion in loans.
“This will be backed up by an emergency ‘Next Generation EU’ fund of €750 billion, which will enhance the financial firepower of the EU’s budget and enable it to raise greater funds. The Government should be biting the hand of the EU so to speak. We need to be availing of all supports to help businesses.
“We also focused on the important role played by the EU’s SME Envoy Network in promoting SME-friendly regulation and policy making in EU countries.
"I believe that the Irish SME envoy must take on a much greater public role in promoting SME interests throughout government and its agencies, while increasing the communication with SME representative bodies on SME policy actions, and the exchange of good practices,” concluded Deputy Troy.