The Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic presents a major challenge to the entire European Union. National, regional and local communities are on the front line in countering the disease and its socio-economic impact. Solidarity and responsibility across our societies and between Member States are key to overcoming this challenge.
The Commission launched in April 2020 two packages of measures: the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) to mobilise EU cohesion policy to face the crisis. The two proposals were swiftly adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. The CRII package does not offer new EU financial resources, rather it provides flexibility to use existing, unspent resources and re-direct them to where they are most needed.  
Other flexibilities available include:
  • Transferring unallocated EU funding between funds and categories of regions;
  • An immediate increase of liquidity to improve cash flow;
  • An option to increase the EU co-financing rate to 100% for the 2020-21 accounting year;
The CRII/CRII+ initiatives were supplemented on 27 May with the presentation of the REACT-EU package, which is currently under negotiation with the Council and European Parliament institutions.
“Pending agreement on the REACT-EU package, Member States are making full use of the flexibilities and liquidities offered by Cohesion funds to help those most impacted: healthcare workers and hospitals, SMEs, and workers. The initiative is ongoing and Member States continue to adopt measures in line with the evolving needs. While standard cohesion support focuses on long-term investments for regional convergence, the CRII provided emergency response where it was most needed. We have excellent examples on the mobilisation of funds and the measures introduced in many cities and regions across Europe”.
                                                                                                               - 
 Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms

1. IMPACT OF THE CRII/CRII+ MEASURES

The main focus of investments are for the health sector - to secure personal protective equipment, finance testing and support hospitals by purchasing additional medical equipment; the business sector – by providing working capital to SMEs, facilitating digitalisation and setting up or re-designing financial instruments; and supporting people– by implementing employment retention schemes and supporting vulnerable groups.
As of 3 December 2020, the headline figures on the volume of resources mobilised are as follows:     
1. Reprogramming
  • EUR 6.8 billion in EU reallocations for health actions resulting in a net increase of EUR 6.4 billion at EU level;
  • EUR 9.8 billion in EU reallocations in business support resulting in a net increase of EUR 2.7 billion at EU level;
  • EUR 2.9 billion of direct support for people, including workers and vulnerable groups.
(In relation to the "direct support to people" the allocated amounts may, in some cases, overlap with the ESF health and enterprise reprogramming.)
2. Financing and modified rules
  • A EUR 7.6 billion immediate increase of liquidity  was provided;
  • 149 cohesion policy programmes have so far opted for 100% EU co-financing;
  • EUR 4.3 billion has been transferred between Funds and between categories of regions. 
The text above will be updated at the beginning of each month.  The charts and the underlying data below will be updated daily powered with #ESIFOpenData
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2. TRACKING THE COHESION POLICY RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Tracking the COVID-19 pandemic response poses a particular challenge in cohesion policy, which uses shared management across more than 390 programmes. The original monitoring systems were not designed to track the exceptional flexibility measures recently introduced.  For this reason, on 12 May 2020, the Commission services proposed new financial and output indicators - "common" COVID-19 indicators to be used by the national and regional programmes.
For more information on indicators, click here:  Commission non paper - Indicator metadata - FAQ  - Dataset of COVID-19 indicator targets 
The Commission therefore relies on two strands of information: 
  • Tracking the before/after changes in financial allocations before the COVID-19 crisis. The original monitoring system presents a broad view on financial reprogramming for health and enterprise support under normal circumstances. 
  • Tracking the new COVID-19 indicators: by using the new COVID-19 related indicators we can gather more detailed and accurate information.  While the Commission strongly encourages their use, these alone do not paint the whole picture as the use of such indicators is voluntary. Moreover, some countries have targeted very specific national actions that cannot be aggregated at EU level. The full dataset showing all the "common" and national COVID-19 indicators and targets is here.  The charts featured below display some of the "common" COVID-19 indicator targets as examples. Target setting and the frequency of use of the COVID-19 related indicators is expected to continue improving into 2021. 
Use the "master filter" below to preselect national values or values for ERDF / ESF in the COVID-19 indicator charts on this Dashboard. The master filter works only on the COVID-19 indicator charts:
  • ERDF charts: Light blue charts for Covid-19 related financial indicators Dark Blue for  Covid-19 related output indicators 
  • ESF charts: Light mauve charts for Covid-19 related financial indicators / Dark mauve for Covid-19 related output indicators 


2.1  A sharp increase in the 
EU allocation to health actions

Strategic health investments were originally supported in the 2014-2020 programmes with more than EUR 10 billion of EU support. For an overview of EU support to health care systems planned before 2020 under the ERDF and ESF, check out the data story at the bottom of this page. 
Investments in health are taking place across many countries and programmes...
The transfers of resources across funds and programmes has led to a net increase in support to health actions. After the adoption of CRII/CRII+ Regulations, programme modifications accelerated as new measures were made eligible for financing, such as the purchase of PPE, medicines, testing, hiring of additional health personnel, medical assistance or home care services for vulnerable groups.  
The interactive charts below allow you to explore the positive and negative changes in EU planned amounts by using the filter bar.
The green values are increases in EU allocations, the orange values are reductions.  The reductions sometimes involved transfers from one health action to another (or, more rarely, a net reduction in health actions). For example, funding may be taken from e-health (Code 081) and added to health infrastructure (Code 053) as this is considered to have a higher marginal impact in the current crisis. 
TIP: click on the bars to see the distribution per programme within each country.
... while the new COVID-19 indicators help us track specific COVID-19 health actions
The Commission is working with national and regional programmes to improve the coverage and level of detail of the financial data. The charts are updated as soon as new information arrives from the Member States.
The chart below present the targets for different categories of COVID-19 health support.  Use the filters (top right) to select a specific fund, country or programme. Use the drill up/ down buttons (top left) to explore totals by fund, county or programme. Click on the bars in the chart to explore the composition of that value. 
... also in more detail through specific health outputs.
The following charts show some of the new COVID-19 Health output indicator targets as proposed by national and regional programmes. (The implemented values will be reported in the programme annual implementation reports due in mid 2021.) 


2.2 Business support has increased

Support to business was, from the outset, a major investment area for cohesion policy with a wide range of actions supported, predominantly for SMEs. That support ranges across themes such as research and innovation, entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, access to finance, digitalisation and more. For a full overview of actions already dedicated to SME support check the data story at the end of this page.
... with different priorities chosen by countries and regions
Each country and each region have devised their own strategies to best address the coronavirus crisis. This often involves reallocations of funding from one type of activity with larger unallocated resources to another that has a higher potential to relaunch the economy and defy the crisis. The funding could come from other areas of support or from different priorities within the same field. To understand these changes, we look at the movement of resources since 1 February 2020 up until now.
In the charts below the green values are increases, the orange values are reductions.  The reductions frequently involve transfers from one type of enterprise actions to another, mostly within programmes. (NB: A significant volume of the support already planned with specific enterprises actions could also be redirected without the need for programmes to make formal changes and is not captured in the data below.) 
Explore the EUR value of the changes in EU business support by country. By clicking on the bars in the chart below, you will get an overview of the distribution of funds at programme level. Use the buttons on the top left of the chart to reset/drill up and down and the filter bar on the top right corner for more possibilities.
... and important shifts in EU funds between the different enterprise support fields
At the beginning of the crisis, before the COVID-specific measures were formally being monitored, the Member States supported enterprises by shifting resources from very specific investment areas, towards the more flexible support for generic productive investment in SMEs (001), such as working capital and business development (067). SMEs already implementing R&I activities receive increased support for investments directly linked to them, such as liquidity needed to cover additional costs or risks due to the crisis (category 056). 
Click on the bar charts below to see the changes in the distribution of resources for each Member State per investment priority. 
... with SMEs benefiting from the flexibilities and liquidity offered by the CRII/CRII+ Regulation 
The crisis has had a major impact on SMEs which are the backbone of the European economy. SMEs need urgent financial support not only to pay their current bills but also for new investments to adapt to the new circumstances. Amendments to the ERDF rules made it possible to provide grants to support working capital of SMEs affected by the crisis, and significantly simplified support for working capital loans and guarantees. Moreover, the flexibilities introduced in the spring also allow for the retroactive reimbursement of expenses incurred as of 1 February 2020 to mitigate the coronavirus crisis. 
Support through grants
The take-up of these measures is captured by the new COVID-19 indicators.  The two charts below show the amount of grants planned and the target number of SMEs that should benefit from such grants. The support is targeted to sectors that have been especially affected by the pandemic, including in the culture, tourism and HORECA sectors.
The values are in total public cost (EU and National). Some programmes chose to use their own COVID-19 indicators with very specific actions, which cannot be aggregated, but are available in this dataset.  
Click on the bar charts below to see the distribution by programme within the country. Use the functionalities in the top corners for more detailed information.
Support through Financial Instruments
More than EUR 18 billion in EU funds was already allocated for use through financial instruments. The data story at the end of this page guides you though the data available on financial instruments overall.    
The CRII/CRII+ Regulation also encouraged flexibility for the use of financial instruments. This has been harnessed by Member States to redesign existing financial instruments or develop new ones. 
Programmes in several countries have indicated significant transfers towards repayable working capital support (loans and guarantees).


2.3 Support to people to
combat the effects of the pandemic

The coronavirus crisis has had a ripple effect throughout society affecting people in different ways.  The European Social Fund (ESF) has been the primary Fund used to support social services, retention of employment, support to vulnerable groups and others.
The chart below shows the amount now planned to combat or counteract the effects of the pandemic, e.g. through support to short-time work arrangements, supplementary wage for health care personnel, IT equipment, PPE and services for vulnerable groups.
The targets for the value (total public cost) of financial support under ESF programmes indicated below were flagged by those national and regional programmes that decided to identify and track using the COVID-19 specific indicator (CV30). The total amount of such support is likely to be higher. The allocated amounts under ESF actions to combat COVID-19 may, in some cases, overlap with the ESF health and enterprise reprogramming in section 2.1 and 2.2 above.
Some programmes chose to use their own specific COVID indicators, which cannot be aggregated, but are available in this dataset.  
... the ESF financial support is linked to output and result indicators
The following charts show some of the new ESF measures to combat the effects of the pandemic at national and regional level, e.g. through support to short-time work arrangements or support to health care personnel, among others. These targets give a first measure of how ESF investments will benefit individuals and entities across the EU, while a full report of the implemented measures will be available in mid 2021. 
Again, some programmes chose to use their own specific COVID-19 indicators, which cannot be aggregated, but are available in this dataset.  

3. TAKE UP OF FINANCIAL
FLEXIBILITY AND LIQUIDITY
MEASURES 


The second set of measures adopted under CRII and CRII+ were designed to improve flexibility and cash flow to allow public authorities to use cohesion policy programmes to support their unprecedented crisis efforts.

3.1 Immediate increase of liquidity

Under normal circumstances, Member States have to reimburse the unspent funding at the end of the annual accounting period. In 2020,  exceptionally, the Commission decided to allow Member States to keep the unspent funds as a form of advance. In doing this, the Commission provided the Member States with a total EUR 7.6 billion in unrecovered EU pre-financing to accelerate expenditure related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

3.2  Many programmes have taken up the option of  100% EU financing 

At the request of a country, the expenditure declared in 2020-2021 accounting exercise could be temporarily financed by exclusively with EU resources.  This option of 100% European co-financing is one of the most popular measures with the majority of modified programmes.
The chart below shows the number modified programmes with 100% EU co-financing in relation to the total number of cohesion policy programmes by country (TC = Interreg programmes).  

3.3  Some countries have transferred resources between funds

At the request of a country, the resources available for programming for the year 2020, could be transferred between the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund. 
The charts below show the sum of all increase and decreases in EU funding. As no new EU funds were available the sum of changes overall is normally "zero" (increases = decreases). 
(NB: Some decommitments of funds (due to financial corrections / N+3 ) give rise to net decreases in some cases.) 
... with changes visible within and between programmes at national and regional level

In the charts below the green values are increases, the orange values are reductions. 

Tip: Use the filters (top right of chart) to limit the overview to a specific country or identify a specific fund;

3.4  Some transfers have also been made between categories of regions

At the request of a country, the resources available for 2020, could also be transferred between categories of regions. The most urbanized areas are, in fact, those that have been most affected by the virus, and this situation necessitates additional investments related to healthcare. 
Note: VOID represents the Cohesion Fund values which do not have a "category of region". 

4. MORE INFORMATION

This interactive dashboard gives a snapshot of the take up of the main CRII/CRII+ measures using data on the formal changes captured in the monitoring system covering hundreds of cohesion policy programmes at the national, regional and cross border levels. In using the data presented please be aware of the following: 
  1. The different types of measures can be used cumulatively in programmes and may overlap (i.e. a transfer from one fund to another, leading to an increase in the budget for health actions). 
  2. Significant changes in the use of already planned investment (i.e. for SMEs) cannot be captured in the formal monitoring data as they involve qualitative changes in support (unless new COVID indicators are being used). 
  3. Reprogramming in many Member States is not finalised, and will continue growing in the coming months as formal decisions are taken.

4.1  On the use of the COVID-19 specific indicators 

In addition to the COVID-19 specific indicators some programmes have also used other national indicators. In some cases the national indicators have very significant target values, for instance, for the total funding to be dedicated to the COVID-19 response without specifying the nature of the response (health, SMEs, workers, etc.).  Such national indicators cannot be aggregated to EU level.  The chart below shows the number of uses of common and national COVID-19 indicators. 
(The filter bar below the chart allows you to filter all the charts using COVID indicators values on this DASHBOARD.)
All the common and national indicators used in adopted programmes are found in this dataset . Only selected "common" indicators are visualised above.  
The Commission continues to strongly encourage programmes to use the COVID-19 "common" indicators, when relevant, in case they are using EU financing in the COVD-19 context. 
Below you find related data stories on the original planned cohesion policy investments in health care, enterprise support (SMEs in particular) and financial instruments.
Authors: Luize KURME / Agnes CSATHO / John WALSH / Mita TALENTI
Date of text: 3 December 2020