FESI strongly welcomes the EU economic policy response to COVID-19 and calls on Member States to swiftly implement the proposed measures
Amid the extraordinary health and economic crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19, FESI is calling on the EU and Member States to provide swift and bold support to the European sporting goods industry. The sporting goods industry, which employs almost 700,000 people in Europe, is among the economic sectors severely affected by the current crisis. Already 80% of the companies of the French sector have recorded a drop in turnover of nearly 14%1. In addition to the alarming direct impact on sales, there are also major difficulties in forecasting supply, cash flow, rent and short time working for employees in the sector. SMEs, which represent nearly 75% of our members, are among the most severely affected.
FESI, the Federation of the European Sporting Goods, therefore calls on the EU and Member States to provide liquidity support for firms facing severe disruption and liquidity shortages, especially SMEs, and implement measures including tax and duty deferrals, rent postponements and concessions, public guarantees to help companies to borrow, export guarantees and waiving of delay penalties in public procurement contracts.
FESI strongly welcomes the recent EU economic policy responses adopted by the European institutions.
The so-called “Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative” proposed by the European Commission will make available €37 billion of Cohesion funds to member states to address the consequences of the crisis. About €8 billion of investment liquidity will be released from unspent pre-financing in 2019 for programmes under the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The measure will also provide access to €29 billion
of structural funding across the EU for 2020. Expenditure on crisis response will be available as of 1 February 2020. The new measures will support SMEs to alleviate serious liquidity shortages as a result of the pandemic. Member states will also have greater flexibility to transfer funds between programmes to help those most adversely affected.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group has also announced that it will rapidly mobilise up to EUR 40 billion of financing, including €10 billion in additional investments in SMEs and midcaps for their own account and to accelerate the deployment of another €10 billion backed by the EU budget. In addition, the EIB group also called for Member States to set up a significant and scalable additional guarantee for the EIB and national promotional Banks to ensure that access to finance for SMEs and midcaps remains open.
FESI also welcomes the package of monetary policy measures taken by the European Central Bank last week aimed at supporting liquidity and funding conditions for households, businesses and banks, help the smooth provision of credit to the real economy, and avoid fragmentation of euro area financial markets in order to preserve the smooth transmission of monetary policy.
FESI now calls on all the relevant national authorities to take advantage and implement the measures proposed by the EU institutions to address the consequences of the coronavirus crisis. All national authorities should now allow automatic stabilisers to function and in addition implement all necessary measures to ensure that the economic consequences of COVID-19 are tackled and that they do not put in danger central sectors of the European economy such as the European sporting goods industry.