EU offers additional assistance in dealing with coronavirus crisis and proposes recovery after pandemic, assistance to transport and communications sector

The Commission has today adopted a package of measures to help businesses in the aviation and rail, maritime and road sectors to help companies cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The measures will reduce the company's regulatory burden and costs, and further proposals may follow in the coming weeks.

Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean said: Today's proposals set out concrete ways to facilitate day-to-day business in the transport sector. Thanks to the measures, companies in the transport sector should more effectively focus on much-needed recovery.

For aviation, the measures will simplify groundhandling services and amend the rules on licensing of airlines due to financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus outbreak. In the maritime sector, the competent authorities may defer or not charge any fees for the use of port infrastructure.

For the rail sector, the Commission proposes that the deadline by which Member States have to delegate some responsibilities, including to the EU Railway Agency, be extended by three months. Finally, all modes of transport will benefit from the proposal to extend the validity of certain certificates and permits, as health measures have made it difficult for some carriers and workers to complete the formalities prescribed by EU law. Today's proposals follow a number of measures already introduced by the Commission, such as how to protect workers in the transport sector, informing passengers of their rights and moving basic goods across Europe. More detailed information about today's package can be found here.

COUNCIL MEETING: Western Balkans Heads of State Meeting: EU Offers Additional Assistance to Coronavirus Crisis and Suggests Recovery After Pandemic

The European Commission today announced EU financial support of more than € 3.3 billion, which, with the help of the European Investment Bank, has been mobilized for the benefit of the citizens of the Western Balkans. The aim is to help respond to immediate health and humanitarian needs and to assist social and economic recovery.

On the eve of the EU-Western Balkans leaders meeting on 6 May 2020, the Commission, with additional assistance, also outlined the parameters for longer-term assistance, which will be presented during the year in the form of an economic and investment plan for the region.

European Commission President Ursula von der Layen said: We have a special responsibility to help our partners in the Western Balkans because their future lies in the European Union. The EU is mobilizing a substantial financial package to confirm our solidarity. Together we will overcome the crisis and embark on a recovery journey. In addition, we will continue to support the region, including during the reforms required on the road to the EU, as recovery is only possible if countries continue to fulfill their obligations.

Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: The European Union has acted swiftly and comprehensively to help the Western Balkans tackle the difficulties caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, with unprecedented financial assistance and access to EU initiatives. We will continue to work on preparing an economic and investment plan for the region to tackle the dire socio-economic impact of the crisis, modernize the region's economies, support reforms, and start reducing development disparities, which will benefit citizens more quickly.

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