October 6, 2020
State Aid suspension must be extended and government must use it – Chris MacManus MEP

State Aid suspension must be extended and government must use it – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has said an EU Commission consultation on whether the State Aid exemptions currently in place should be extended is an opportunity for the government to support the extension and make greater use of the flexibility it allows. 

MacManus, who is a member of the Parliament’s powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs, said, “It is a no brainer for the Commission to extend the current suspension until at least June 2021. In fact, my preference is for an indefinite suspension until we are completely and finally clear of this Covid pandemic.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP said, “The extension should be put in place and more importantly, Ireland must start fully using the flexibility it permits. State Aid, normally seen as direct State investment in a sector or company, is normally de facto banned under EU rules. Other countries have taken full advantage with more than €2trillion being used to prop up national economies. Ireland however has not taken full advantage of the opportunity with only just over €2bn of schemes of State Aid having been implemented as per the latest figures. The Irish government must do more!”

“For comparison, Denmark, a country with of a similar size to Ireland has received the green light for over €7bn of State Aid investment. One of the Danish schemes allowed the government to compensate holders of events of over 1,000 people that had to be cancelled. A similar initiative in Ireland would be invaluable to many people struggling right now.”

The Sligo MEP concluded by encouraging the government to fully use the opportunity to help people at this difficult time. “The opportunities are obvious for the government if it were inclined to use this flexibility. First it must fight for the flexibility to be extended. With another lockdown now on the cards this is not the time to hold back on helping who we can in our economy.” ENDS

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