EU clears French 1.2 billion euro scheme for small firms hit by pandemic

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission authorized on Monday France’s scheme to support small companies and self-employed people affected by the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the scheme, Paris has pledged a total of 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in subsidies to firms with a maximum of 10 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding 1 million euros.

The scheme, known as “Fonds de solidarite” was approved under a fast-track procedure the Commission has applied since mid-March to speed up spending in EU states to combat the economic and social crisis sparked by the outbreak.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop