The Spanish government on Friday approved an economic relief package worth 11 billion euros (13.13 billion U.S. dollars) that includes seven billion euros in direct aid to struggling companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measures, which had been announced a fortnight ago by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, were approved in an extraordinary cabinet meeting and aims to help three distinct areas of the economy.
The package also includes three million euros earmarked for restructuring state-guaranteed loans and one billion euros for recapitalizing medium-sized firms.
To qualify for help, companies must show that their revenue has dropped by at least 30 percent since the start of the pandemic. The money must then be used to cover fixed expenses or to reduce debts (especially with suppliers).
Government spokesperson Maria Jesus Montero told journalists that the government wanted to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on production and unemployment -- which has risen to over four million.
"Never before has an effort of this magnitude been made aimed at all companies and all workers," said Montero.
Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Nadia Calvino added that the measures aim to anticipate solvency problems in the sectors and regions most affected by the pandemic.
"We are trying to alleviate the drop in income and debts that could put the survival of perfectly viable companies at risk and consequently harm economic recovery," explained Calvino. (1 euro = 1.19 U.S. dollars)