EU decides: No green strings attached on cash to virus-hit firms

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Large companies receiving emergency cash during the COVID-19 crisis will have to report on how they use taxpayer money but won’t be obliged to spend on greening their operations, under new EU rules.

The European Commission unveiled its updated state aid rules applicable to firms receiving government support during the COVID-19 crisis.

The emergency rules will apply until the end of 2020 and covers recapitalisation aid disbursed by national governments to support companies in urgent need of liquidity, according to Euractiv.com.

“As the crisis evolves, many businesses will also need capital to stay afloat,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner in charge of policing state aid.

The Commission suspended its normally-strict state aid rules in mid-March, approving so far more than €1.9 trillion worth of national schemes during the pandemic.

Under the EU’s updated regime, support will come “with strings attached,” including a ban on dividends and bonus payments to managers of companies receiving financial support, Vestager said.

But there will be no specific green requirements – only an obligation to report on how taxpayer money is used for the green and digital transitions.

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