Corona crisis Further help for business in sight
Status: 06/18/2021 5:51 p.m.
The states are urging to continue Corona aid for companies until the end of the year – Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier indicated readiness. Support for domestic exporters has already been extended. There are signs of an extension of the corona aid for companies that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The economics ministers of the federal states demanded that the funds previously planned until the end of September be continued until the end of the year. The federal government pays the previous “Bridging Aid III”.
Extension after the summer break if necessary
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) made it clear after a meeting with his country ministerial colleagues that he is not averse to an extension. One will look at the situation and, if necessary, extend the help after the summer break. The corona aid only applies to companies that can demonstrate a sharp drop in sales and can trace them back to the pandemic. As the economy is currently picking up again and more business is being done again, the number of companies eligible to apply is falling.
Economic aid will be extended The Bridging aid III gets a “plus”
Because the situation is still difficult in some sectors, several aids are being extended.
Altmaier: So far, 105 billion euros have been transferred
So far, a total of 105 billion euros have been transferred to companies as corona aid, said Altmaier. Roughly half of these are loans and half are grants that do not have to be repaid. In addition, there is money from the federal states. According to Altmaier, the state support has paid off: “Together we managed to prevent a loss of substance in the German economy.”
Against the background of the lower number of infections and the lifting of restrictions, Altmaier said the economy was “coming to a new start faster than many feared”. Growth is picking up – this year it will be 3.5 to 4 percent and in 2022 it will be more than 4 percent. The economy will have reached pre-crisis levels by spring 2022 at the latest. “That means, we are hopefully out of the worst,” said the CDU politician. When the bridging aid, which ran until the end of June, was extended by three months as “bridging aid III plus”, he was in any case in favor of continuing it until the end of the year.
Aid to exporters continues
Meanwhile, the corona aid for domestic exporters has already been extended until the end of the year. They were decided in July 2020 and should actually end this month. “Even if the economic situation has improved significantly in the past few months, the corona pandemic continues to pose challenges for the export industry,” the Ministry of Economics justified the decision. “Some companies are only now feeling the stresses with a delay.”
“Security signal” to the economy
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Andreas Pinkwart, spoke out in favor of continuing to support sectors such as the trade fair industry. After all, they would “presumably not yet be able to work in the fourth quarter in the way they normally would at normal times”. In addition, the FDP politician considers the extension of the bridging aid to be a good precaution for possible rising incidences in autumn. Then you would “not have to put on a new program from the hip”, but would have already been prepared. Saarland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Anke Rehlinger, considers the prospect of the extension of the aid to be “a protective signal” to the economy. “We have to take care of the industries that are still suffering from the pandemic.” She stressed that the time should be used to prepare for all eventualities in autumn and winter. Should one be forced to make restrictions again because of the pandemic, there could be “other, smarter measures” that would take into account aspects such as a high vaccination rate.
Corona consequences for companies How much longer does the state have to help?
Today the federal and state economics ministers are discussing how to proceed with corona aid for companies.
Situation in trade fair industry “catastrophic”
The corona pandemic hit large parts of the German economy hard. In the meantime, things are looking a little better again, also because restrictions have been relaxed and restaurants and cafes are open again, for example. However, the situation in some sectors such as the trade fair industry is still very tense.
Jörn Holtmeier, managing director of the trade fair association AUMA, described the situation in his branch as “catastrophic”. The first industry get-togethers would take place again in September, but the number of trade fairs until the end of the year was clear. There have been many rejections. “If a stand builder finally gets another order for his first trade fair in November or December, but then does not receive any more money from the state in October, this can extremely worsen the already tense financial situation of his company.” Then company bankruptcies are possible. It is mainly about stand builders, caterers and private trade fair organizers. Exhibition companies that belong to municipalities and the state are not entitled to federal corona aid.
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Around 231,000 employees
Holtmeier is also in favor of extending the aid until the end of the year. This was just a safety net, he said. “Some companies will get orders again beforehand and make sales, they will not have to use the help.”
According to AUMA, Germany’s trade fair industry has around 231,000 employees. This not only includes organizers and stand builders, but also companies with a strong trade fair business – a hotel, for example, which does most of its business with trade fair visitors, is proportionately included in the number of employees. Since March 2020, according to the Ifo Institute, the crisis in the trade fair industry has led to economic damage of an estimated 40 billion euros: Dealers could no longer buy anything at the industry get-togethers, and there were no more visitors who would spend money on restaurant visits, hotel stays or taxi rides