, Vienna Finance Minister Blümel: EUR 15 billion corona assistance fund to safeguard jobs and protect Austria as a centre of economic activity EUR 15 billion assistance fund will be available from 8 April – Guarantee from the Republic of Austria to secure operating loans, plus grants covering 75% of eligible fixed costs

"From the outset, our most important objective has been to protect people's health, to save jobs and to make sure that Austria, as a centre economic activity, comes through this crisis as well as possible, so that we can then start up again as soon as possible once it is over. For this purpose, we have provided the country with a vast safety net to the tune of EUR 38 billion, which is already taking effect," explained Finance Minister Gernot Blümel at today's press conference on protecting both Austrian economic life and Austrian employment. Thus, for instance, the hardship fund has already been launched. Here, in phase 1, applications may be made for support in a sum of up to EUR 1,000, and in phase 2 up to EUR 6,000 in total.

In addition to this emergency aid, EUR 15 billion is available from the corona assistance fund, aimed at supporting those businesses which are seeing huge falls in turnover. Support from the corona assistance fund can be applied for with effect from 8 April 2020. "Through this, we have created a product which is undoubtedly unique in Europe. According to the feedback we are receiving from business operators, we are doing everything possible to carry Austria successfully through the crisis and to preserve as many jobs as possible," added Minister Blümel. Depending on how badly affected a company is, applications may be made for loans in a total amount of three months' turnover. Part of such a loan will then no longer need to be repaid, consisting of up to 75% of fixed costs and goods which have lost all value over the period. The aim of this is to cover problems caused by liquidity shortfalls, fixed costs and value depreciation on goods.

 The corona assistance fund has two instruments at its disposal. The first consists of a guarantee instrument from the Republic of Austria to secure operating loans; this covers 90% of the loan amount. Loan terms total a maximum of five years, and may be extended by up to five years. "In order to be eligible to apply, a company must have business operations in Austria, liquidity requirements in Austria, and a strict limitation on bonuses to directors, as well as no dividend payments in this crisis-affected year," explained Minister Blümel. The second instrument consists of a grant for those businesses suffering a slump in sales of 40% or more. This grant is the portion of the loan applied for which will not need to be repaid. Depending on how badly affected a company is, fixed costs will also be indemnified and spoiled merchandise of between 25% and 75% will be compensated for or non-repayable. Fixed costs will include rent, electricity, gas and interest charges as well as perishable and seasonal goods which have lost 50% or more in value due to the corona crisis.