Greece is receiving more than 2 billion euros in job retention aid, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told state television ERT.

Many companies are at risk of bankruptcy and are forced by the circumstances and the general financial picture to lay off employees, economists in Greece say.

The European program for preserving employment helps to overcome some of the difficulties and challenges of the pandemic, business owners commented to the media.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Greek state television that as of today, Greece has access to “social bonds” in order to keep as many jobs as possible.

“I have good news for Greece. It receives access to 2 billion euros under the European program for maintaining employment SURE. Greece will use a total of 2.7 billion euros. These are many tools to help. The aim is to finance promising companies to maintain employment potential and not lay off workers. “We take part of the pay if they don’t have enough work,” she said.

The government in Athens is already paying 800 euros a month in compensation to employees of companies that have been forced to close due to quarantine.

The European Commission has disbursed €14 billion to nine EU countries in the second instalment of financial support to Member States under the SURE instrument. As part of today’s operations, Croatia has received €510 million, Cyprus €250 million, Greece €2 billion, Italy an additional €6.5 billion, Latvia €120 million, Lithuania €300 million, Malta €120 million, Slovenia €200 million and Spain an additional €4 billion.

This support, in the form of loans granted on favourable terms, will assist these Member States in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment. Specifically, they will help cover the costs directly related to the financing of national short-time work schemes, and other similar measures they have put in place as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, including for the self-employed.

At the end of October, Italy, Spain and Poland already received a total of €17 billion under the EU SURE instrument. Once all SURE disbursements have been completed to the 9 countries receiving financial support today, Croatia will receive €1 billion, Cyprus €479 million, Greece €2.7 billion, Italy €27.4 billion, Latvia €192 million, Lithuania €602 million, Malta €244 million, Slovenia €1.1 billion and Spain €21.3 billion.

Today’s disbursement follow the second issuance of social bonds under the EU SURE instrument, marked by very strong investor interest.

The SURE instrument can provide up to €100 billion in financial support to all Member States. The Commission has so far proposed to make €90.3 billion in financial support available to 18 Member States. The next disbursements will take place over the course of the months ahead, following the respective bond issuances.