Agreement reached in limited cabinet: here are the new measures in the federal aid plan

On Friday night, an agreement was reached within the “superkern”, the Federal Government and the ten parties that support the special powers destined to fight Covid-19, after several hours of meeting. The text was not validated by the N-VA. The Flemish nationalist party did not sign the joint statement sent shortly before 22:00.

“Today’s agreement reinforces the social and environmental measures taken last week. The nonsense proposals pushed by the N-VA have been completely rejected”, Ecolo co-chair Jean-Marc Nollet said on Twitter.

On June 6th, the ten parties approved a first set of measures. Later it was agreed to identify in a second step what could complement this system. That was the work that was carried out during the meeting this Friday.

The new support measures, protagonists of the agreement can be classified into two categories, indicates the press release signed by the government parties (MR, Open Vld and CD&V), with the support of the Socialists (PS and sp.a), environmentalists (Ecolo-Groen), CD&V, cdH and Défi.


The first category refers to investment support.

  • The superkern has decided to establish a new temporary Covid-19  tax shelter system until the end of the year, open to all SMEs that have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • An investment deduction increased by 25% is provided for investments made between March 12th and December 31st, 2020.
  • The nine parties have also decided to increase the deductibility of expenses related to the organization of events and catering from 50 to 100% until December 31st.
  • The superkern has also decided to suspend the payment of VAT from December 2020 and increase from 10 to 20% the share of net income that can benefit from the reduction of subsidy taxes.
  • At the same time, the tax reduction for donations made in 2020 to approved institutions will decrease from 45 to 60%.


The second category refers to the organization of work, according to the statement.

  • The nine parties have decided to create adapted Corona unemployment, which consists of a transition between temporary unemployment due to the force majeure Corona and classic economic unemployment. This transitional economic unemployment can be used if the company shows a 10% drop in its turnover. The worker will follow two days of unemployment training per month and will continue to receive 70% of their last maximum salary.
  • It was also decided to offer companies in restructuring or in difficulties the possibility of reducing working hours pending the resumption of normal activity and to avoid layoffs, either through a collective reduction in working time, either through the time credit system, or through the time credit at the end of the degree, whose accessibility will be reduced from 57 to 55 years.
  • In addition, the Corona parental leave will run until September 30th with a subsidy increased to 150% for single parent families and families with a child with a disability.
  • It was also decided to facilitate the reimbursement of the costs incurred by teleworkers, up to a maximum of 127 euros per month.


In addition to these measures, an agreement was also reached to release funds of 100 million euros for the CPAS to be dedicated to people in difficulties in order to extend the benefit of the social measures decided during the previous meeting to a more public comprehensive, especially from the point of view of energy poverty. To cover the operating costs linked to an additional workload, the CPAS will receive an additional aid of 10 million euros.



Agreement between the social partners on the conditions for granting partial unemployment within the framework of the exit from the state of crisis

Under the joint presidency of Dan Kersch, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity Economy, and Franz Fayot, Minister of Economy, the social partners represented on the one hand by OGBL President Nora Back and LCGB President Patrick Dury, and on the other hand by the President of UEL, Nicolas Buck, agreed on June 9th the new modalities to grant partial unemployment to companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

With the end of the crisis state, the emergency procedures established to help companies through a special mechanism of partial unemployment by “force majeure COVID-19” will expire. The meeting agreed that companies affected by the health crisis should continue to receive support through partial unemployment, preserving as many jobs as possible.

Taking into account that a good number of companies will continue to suffer the negative effects of the health crisis beyond the end of the crisis state, it has already been decided to continue supporting them with the instrument of partial unemployment until the end of the current year.

To take into account the fact that certain sectors have been more severely affected and will delay the return to the same level of activity as before the health crisis or will not achieve it in the near future, four possible ways of benefiting from the agreement were agreed upon partial unemployment:


  1. Industrial companies will continue to benefit from the cyclical scheme of short-term unemployment to be able to react to shocks in international markets. By applying the system of partial unemployment from cyclical sources, industrial companies undertake not to fire workers for economic reasons.
  2. The social partners have recognized the particularly difficult situation of companies in vulnerable sectors that continue to be strongly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, companies in the hotel, tourism and events sectors will be able to benefit from rapid access to partial unemployment from a structural source, without limiting the number of employees who will be entitled to it. If necessary, these companies may resort to economic dismissals within the maximum limit of 25% of their employees until December 31, 2020. The social partners have explicitly insisted on the fact that the provisions of general jurisdiction provided for by the Code of the Labour Law relating to collective dismissal remain fully applicable. The social partners have agreed that, in the event of a return to an improvement in activity, the companies that have carried out layoffs must, in the event of subsequent recruitment of staff, rehire their former laid-off employees as a matter of priority.
  3. Companies affected by the health crisis, in addition to industrial companies and those from vulnerable sectors, can also resort to short-term work from structural sources along the accelerated route provided, however, without dismissing workers. This measure aims to preserve the jobs in the companies involved as best as possible. In this case, however, the number of employees covered by partial unemployment cannot exceed 25% in the months of July and August, 20% in September and October, and 15% in November and December. In this context, an employee is defined as each employee who has been declared partially unemployed during the current month, regardless of the number of hours of partial unemployment.
  4. Finally, the demands of companies in vulnerable sectors that lay off more than 25% of their workers, as well as those of all the other companies that want to make layoffs, must submit a “traditional” application for partial unemployment.


In fact, it was agreed in these situations that admission to the partial unemployment regime could only be granted if the companies proceeded to establish restructuring plans. These plans will be established in the form of a recovery plan in the case of small companies of less than fifteen people, respectively, and in the form of a job retention plan in accordance with the provisions of Article L. 513-1 et seq. Labour Code for companies that employ more than fifteen employees.

The social partners expressed their willingness to negotiate as far as possible the sectoral plans for job retention to use the temporary labour loan instrument.

All these proposals for partial unemployment were approved by the Government in the Council.

The Economic Committee also reserves the right to give negative notice to requests from companies that are clearly not affected at all or only slightly by the health crisis.

The secretariat of the Economic Committee is in the process of implementing, in collaboration with the services of the State Center for Information Technology (CTIE) and ADEM, computer applications to send applications as described above electronically through the platform.

Accurate information for business, staff and employee delegations will be quickly prepared and made available on the website.


Communicated by the Ministry of Economy / Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social and Solidarity Economy



Agreement by Kern+10 on measures to support the purchasing power of Belgians and sectors in difficulty

Following the meeting of the restricted Council of Ministers, extended to the ten political groups supporting the Federal Government, a series of support measures were agreed for the third part of the Federal Plan for Social and Economic Protection.


The first “package” refers to the measures that had already been adopted by the federal government and that will be extended beyond their initial deadline. The most important measures are:

  • Temporary unemployment due to force majeure “Corona”
  • The transition right for self-employed workers
  • Parental leave Corona

These measures are extended until 31st August.

Other measures are also extended, such as the suspension of the progressive reduction of the unemployment benefits, the package of measures destined to artists, the subsidy of 3 million euros to the CPAS in the framework of food aid and the allowances linked to the donations of IT material for schools.

Four specific support measures have been identified for the sectors in difficulty, including HoReCa, to cushion the socio-economic consequences of a gradual recovery in their activity. These are:


  • An extension and upgrade of the transition right until 31st August 2020 and extendable until 31st December 2020
  • At the same time, an extension of the temporary unemployment until 31st December 2020
  • In order to enable hotel and restaurants to improve their financial situation, a reduction of VAT to 6% until 31st December 2020 on all provisions of services, except alcoholic drinks
  • In the most affected sectors that have been forced to use the temporary unemployment, an agreement has been reached to grant a partial exemption from the payment of the withholding tax on salary income for the next three months, in order to encourage the return of workers who are currently in temporary unemployment.

With respect to the solvency of companies, the bank guarantee measure will be extended. The arrangements for extending the scope of the intervention to SMEs will be discussed in the Parliament shortly. The proposals for supporting artists will also be discussed next week.

The purchasing power of Belgians was also at the centre of the discussion. The intention of the meeting parties was to create a positive dynamic, first of all in favour of citizens, but also in favour of the country’s economic activity.

  • The employer may grant a 300 euro Consumption voucher to the sectors most affected by the crisis to buy goods and services in sectors such as the hotel industry, culture, etc. This voucher will be 100% deductible and tax free.
  • A complementary social aid of 6×50 euros (monthly) to the beneficiaries of a social integration income, disabled people and pensioners who benefit from the Grapa. This exceptional aid to the most vulnerable families will enable them to cope with their difficulties.
  • All residents in Belgium can benefit from a 10-trip rail pass (SNCB) valid from 1st July to 31st December 2020. The additional cost of the bicycle will be temporarily cancelled.

In addition, it has been agreed to provide additional support to the CPAS through a further temporary increase in the refund rate of 15% on the federal intervention.

In addition to this first package of measures that has been agreed, the ten parties agreed to continue discussions to identify additional support measures that could usefully complement this first package.



The latest extension of the alarm state paves the way for a new normality that is still unknown

The Ministry of Health will delegate to the regions the competence to decide on the flexibility, modification and even duration of the measures over territories in phase 3 of the de-escalation as of Monday, June 8th. The state of alarm continues, but the new and last extension, approved this Wednesday and which will be in force until June 21st, transfers the powers to the autonomous regions and may even reach before time what has been called the ‘new normality’. A scenario that is not yet defined but whose “prevention, containment and coordination measures” will be specified on Tuesday in a law decree, as Pedro Sánchez has explained in Congress.

Technicians from Health and other ministries are currently working on that document. The Government does not give details at the moment about the process, although, according to president Sánchez, the content of the decree will be discussed before in an Inter-territorial Council with all the autonomous councilors that will be led by Minister Salvador Illa. Fernando Simón, director of the Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies, specified this Wednesday that the text “is being discussed now and we have to review it, probably tonight”.

The decree that will regulate the ‘new normality’, the stage of our lives that will go from the end of the state of alarm until the COVID-19 is controlled with a vaccine or a very effective treatment, this will feature not only sanitary measures but also related with transport and with commerce”, Simón stated. Regarding the strictly sanitary issues, it will have to guarantee above all “the assistance capacity, the fluidity of the data, and the supplies”. Illa has mentioned aspects that will surely be present in the daily life of the coming months, while “we learn to live with the virus”: “The interpersonal distance of two meters, the use of the mask in the stipulated conditions, and constant higiene”.


Don’t let your guard down

The ‘new normal’ will not only reach Spain but all the countries attacked by the pandemic, as they emerge from the de-escalation of confinement. But not even the World Health Organization (WHO) can define for sure what this exactly means. In any case, the criteria of the WHO and Government have not always coincided: the WHO still does not recommend masks to the entire population to reserve them for the healthcare workers, while the Spanish Executive has made them mandatory for everyone whenever the safety distance cannot be maintained. After the state of alarm, Health ministry will continue to recommend them as a minimum.

It is very important to understand that nobody has a map of the ‘new normal’. I speak worldwide. It is an unknown and unexplored territory that is about to be built and in which we have never been”, illustrates Daniel López-Acuña, former director of Acción Health in Crisis Situations of the WHO and professor at the Andalusian School of Public Health. What is clear is that this new context will be different and will have to deal with a horizon in which we do not know how the virus will behave and if there will be a second epidemic wave in the fall that will force again to impose restrictive measures.

The ‘new normal’, wields López-Acuña, “means not to let your guard down”: neither as regards sanitary capacities nor the “responsibility of the population” when it comes to complying with hygiene and safety measures. In other words, the system should continue to count on an extra muscle of resources and epidemiological surveillance to detect transmission chains and control possible outbreaks through early detection, racking and surveillance of cases and their contacts. On the other hand, the specialist points to the need for “a common framework at the state level” because “there cannot be 17 different ‘new normalities’”, he says, referring to the 17 regions.


No crowds or mass events

Beatriz González López-Valcárcel, professor of Public Health and part of the scientific committee of the Canary Islands government, recognizes that, even without a decree, they are not clear on what the ‘new normality’ will consist of. In the debates, “what worries us most in the Canary Islands is, on the one hand, what to do with tourism, which is our way of life. How two conflicting interests are reconciled: minimizing the risks of contagion but opening up the economy. The virus came here from the outside, and we know that it will come again from the outside. Regarding education, we talked about how to do it for a long time. And, of course, how to return to normality within the health sector itself”.

Regarding social interactions, López-Acuña details some ideas and stresses that “the behavior of distancing is going to have to continue and we must encourage very cautious behavior”. López-Valcárcel agrees, who relies more on “social control, in which all of us as citizens are responsible” than in coercive measures that may be stipulated. In addition, the former director of Health Action in crisis situations at the WHO focuses on nursing homes, which have been hit hard by the pandemic and which, since they have a vulnerable population, “must be vigilant and take precautions” also in this new stage.

All the specialists consulted are clear that large agglomerations should not be part of this ‘new normal’. Ildefonso Hernández, spokesman for the Spanish Society of Public Health (SESPAS) summarizes it in that “it will be a reinforcement of the issues that we have been establishing these months”, such as not meeting too many people. “Until there is a vaccine or I think that mass events or discos can be held. The virus is still there, it does not go away with the state of alarm”, says López-Valcárcel.


Reform of the Public Health Law

Another great question is how exactly the regulation of the ‘new normal’ will be carried out. There are several ways, but having anticipated that it will be by a royal decree-law, Juan Luis Beltrán, president of the Transparency Council of Navarra and former president of the Association of Health Jurists, bets on a modification of the General Law on Public Health of 2011: “It is an ideal norm for this that can be modified and expanded, that’s what it is for. It can contemplate everything other than restrictions of fundamental rights“. So adding paragraphs would be enough to legislate on masks, crowds and health services, he explains, under penalty of administrative sanction for citizens if it is not complied with and that the communities will apply as health authorities no longer in a state of alarm.

The law itself appeals to individual responsibility, with high penalties of thousands of euros”, continues Hernández. Although it was thought for things of less importance than the current ones, which is why everyone agrees that it would require expansion. It is a General Law so it is not valid for measures that restrict fundamental rights, as in the case that at some point it is necessary to confine territories again. For that, it would be necessary to resort, according to the criteria of Juan Luis Beltrán, to the Organic Law of Special Measures in Public Health, of 1986, which already includes the possibility of isolating people for health reasons “but not entire communities, but areas with For example, it was possible to quarantine people in a hotel in Tenerife in February, so that it can limit fundamental rights it would also have to be extended, but it would be another process: the government would have to request an urgent modification to the Congress”.



Measures taken by the National Security Council of 3 June 2020

On Wednesday, June 3rd, the National Security Council, extended to include the Ministers-President, approved the transition to Phase 3 of the phase-out plan starting on June 8th. As the daily reporting from the health authorities shows, the health indicators are encouraging. The experts have therefore given the green light to start this new phase.

This implies a radical change in approach compared to the rules that have been in force so far. After all, from now on, freedom is the rule and what is not allowed is the exception.

Any activities that are still banned are not allowed because they either involve too close contact between people or mass gatherings, or because no protocols – i.e. specific rules for a sector – have been defined yet.

This new approach must be understood at two levels. Firstly, the individual behaviour (How should I behave in light of my renewed freedom?) and secondly, the regulatory framework applicable to organised activities (Which protocols should professionals apply when organising activities?).


  1. As far as individual behaviour is concerned, there are six golden rules:
  • Hygiene measures remain essential.
  • Outdoor activities should be favoured wherever possible. Where necessary, rooms should be adequately ventilated.
  • Additional precautions should be taken for people belonging to a high-risk group. A charter is being developed for older people who do volunteer work to provide them with more clarity about the activities they can engage in safely.
  • The rules regarding safety distance continue to apply, except for people within the same family, for children under the age of 12 and for people with whom there is closer contact, i.e. the extended bubble. Those who cannot respect the safety distance have to wear a mouth mask.
  • It is possible to have closer contact with 10 different people every week, in addition to the family members (= extended personal bubble). This is an individual right. These 10 people can change from one week to the next.
  • Group meetings are limited to a maximum of 10 people, including children. This applies to all gatherings, regardless of whether they take place at home or outdoors (e.g. in the park or at a restaurant).
  • Organised sports and now also cultural activities supervised by a person in charge are limited to 20 people in June and 50 people in July, provided that the safety distance is maintained.


  1. About the regulatory framework:
  • All organised activities are resumed, unless the restart is planned in another phase, with protocols that protect both users and staff. These protocols are determined by the competent Minister, after consulting the GEES, in consultation with the sector and, in the case of North-South issues, with an inter-federal approach.
  • The protocols will be evaluated by July 1st. If there is no protocol for a subsector, a document is placed online with the general rules that must apply as a minimum.
  • Working from home is recommended where possible.
  • The hospitality, sports and culture industries are the main industries where important decisions have been taken.


Hospitality industry

The industry is allowed to reopen partially. Gaming halls (e.g. casinos), banqueting and reception halls will not be allowed to reopen until July 1st. As far as banqueting and reception halls are concerned, they will be allowed to operate with a maximum of 50 people present, subject to the same conditions as catering. Nightclubs are not allowed to open before the end of August, as no safety distance can be ensured.

In addition to these exceptions, all other hospitality establishments such as cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen according to a very precise protocol.

The main features of this protocol include:

  • A distance of 1.50 metres between the tables.
  • A maximum of 10 persons per table.
  • Each customer must remain seated at their own table.
  • Waiters have to wear masks.
  • All hospitality establishments are allowed to remain open until one o’clock in the morning, just like the night shops.


Cultural industry

From June 8th, cultural activities may resume without an audience present.

Performances with an audience – including cinemas – can be resumed from July 1th, but only subject to specific rules regarding crowd management, such as respecting the safety distance in the audience and a maximum of 200 attendees.

Activities should be organised in such a way as to avoid gatherings of too many people, e.g. outside the venue.

When people take part in cultural and leisure activities, wearing a mask is recommended at all times.

Sporting and now also cultural activities that are organized and supervised by a person in charge are limited to 20 people in June and 50 people in July, subject to safety distances.

In these two industries – but not only those two – the very gradual reopening and associated requirements will make it more difficult to operate at a profit. At the federal and regional level, in addition to extending or adapting the generic measures to support the economy, we are currently working on a series of specific measures to help certain industries.


Sports industry

From June 8th, non-contact sports activities can be resumed, both indoor and outdoor, amateur or professional, league and training. Gyms and fitness rooms may also be reopened, subject to protocol.


  • Contact sports (e.g. judo, boxing, football, etc.) should always be limited to “contactless” training.
  • As far as sports facilities are concerned, the protocols will also have to be followed. Changing rooms and showers will still not be accessible.
  • Swimming pools, saunas and wellness centres have to remain closed at this stage.

As far as sports are concerned, everything will be allowed again from July 1st, provided that the protocols are respected.

In both the cultural and sports industries, from July 1st, a seated audience of up to 200 people – regardless of the size of the venue – will be allowed, subject to safety distances and always in strict compliance with protocols.


Religious services

Religious worship or gatherings may be resumed on June 8th, subject to, inter alia, the following rules:

  • Safety distances must be observed with a maximum of 100 persons.
  • As of July, this number will be increased to 200, just like in the cultural and sports industries.
  • Rituals with physical contact are still not allowed.



From June 8th, it will be possible to travel inside of Belgium with trips lasting one or more days.

From June 15th, Belgium will open its borders for travel to and from the European Union, including the United Kingdom and the four other Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway). However, it is up to each country to decide whether to open its borders. To know the situation in the country of destination, it is therefore advisable to consult the website of the FPS Foreign Affairs. The conditions for travel outside of Europe have yet to be defined in light of the evolution of discussions at European level.


Leisure and free time

Leisure and free time activities are permitted from June 8th, except for conferences, amusement parks and indoor playgrounds, which may only be reopened from July 1st.



Cultural and leisure activities have to be organised in such a way as to avoid large gatherings. Wearing a mask is recommended at all times.

Gatherings (e.g. village fairs, village festivals, etc.) are prohibited until August 1st and may then be resumed gradually. Large-scale mass events, on the other hand, will remain prohibited until August 31st, as previously announced.

At the beginning of summer, an online evaluation tool will be made available for organisers who want to know whether they can organise an event and subject to what conditions.


Phases 4 and 5 of our phase-out strategy will take place in July and August, if the epidemiological situation permits.



More than 4 million to help cultural sector in Luxembourg

To deal with the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Culture has drawn up a recovery plan for the cultural sector. More than four million will be allocated to revive the different cultural sectors affected by the crisis.

The Covid-19 crisis did not spare the cultural community. Although the sector has played an important role in many homes during confinement and has helped many people overcome this difficult milestone by reading, watching movies or participating in digital initiatives, cultural and artistic institutions. Today the sector is in a precarious, even difficult situation.

That is why the Ministry of Culture proposes a new recovery plan for the sector that complements the exceptional aid already allocated so far. Details were released Wednesday.


An inventory without glory

In total, more than a hundred closed exhibitions, more than a thousand concerts, festivals and other events canceled or postponed, and more than a million spectators who had to give up their ticket.

We are going through a difficult period, with long-term consequences“, said Sam Tanson (Déi Gréng), Minister of Culture. “The financial impact is also very significant and the cultural infrastructures show a loss of 15 to 30% of their income, which is related to the sale of tickets or restoration. This loss may jeopardize the incomes of independent and intermittent artists of the show. In addition, the Ministry of Culture intervened from the beginning to support the sector, first by granting subsidies to projects that could be carried out in times of crisis, then by amending the law on social measures for intermittent entertainment workers and professional artists to support creatives better in times of crisis”.

Because we must not forget that culture is a real economic sector that employs more than 12,000 people, which represents 5.3% of jobs in Luxembourg. A sector that counts in the general economic balance, but which is also precarious, because a fifth of these jobs are self-employed and, therefore, are in a situation of great economic fragility. On May 20th, it was decided that these grants would last until June 30th, thus increasing the allocation reserved for artists and intermittent workers to 1.2 million in 2020.

From May 11th, libraries and museums can reopen, and from May 29th, rooms such as theaters, cinemas, cultural centers and concert halls can be opened.

However, these places must respect the general sanitary conditions, which does not stop raising many concerns: the use of compulsory masks in the places of circulation, sitting respecting the physical distance, distance also imposed for the speakers on stage, etc.

Every three weeks, the situation will be re-evaluated, but at this time we still do not know when we can resume activities as we know them“, said the Minister of Culture. That is why the Ministry of Culture is providing a new set of funds to mitigate the effects of the crisis, prevent excessive precariousness of cultural workers, absorb collateral damage in neighboring sectors and allow structures to adapt to new measures to attract your audience again.


New help for better support

It is in this context that the agreed structures and associations may submit a claim for compensation to compensate for a financial loss related to the cancellation or postponement of an event, or the closure of the cultural institution. 1.5 million is reserved for these allocations.

The annexes of Bourglinster Castle already housed an artist residency program. This will be reinforced with a three-year mission for a group of artists financed up to € 100,000 for two years and who will be in charge of the management and animation of the place. The principle of residency will also be valued in cultural institutions that can host an artist for at least 6 months. To do this, they will benefit from aid ranging from € 15,000 to € 30,000, for a total of € 150,000 reserved for this action.

The ministry is also increasing its endowment for the acquisition of works of art by € 150,000 that can be used to buy works from galleries.

Regarding music, € 50,000 is reserved for eight new musicals. The theater will benefit from € 100,000 that will be used to write dramatic works that must later be produced on stage. The same amount is allocated to the search for new forms of entertainment that better satisfy the limitations of the sanitary conditions imposed by the Covid-19.

Finally, two very large budgets, each one million euros, are aimed, on the one hand, at supporting regional museums for the development and improvement of their offer, and on the other hand at cultural sites with a tourist vocation. Behind these last two grants, there is a sincere desire to develop these structures that are still underexploited and to enrich not only the cultural offer, but also to strengthen tourist attraction throughout the country. Enough to contribute to the long-term “Vakanz Doheem”.



A recovery plan and a “new beginning” for the country

Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna (DP), accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers François Bausch (Déi Gréng) and Dan Kersch (LSAP), detailed the new aid measures decided by the government on Wednesday May 20th. Again a very ambitious program.

A new stage has been passed and that requires a change of scenery. The one in the press conference room of the European Convention Center in Luxembourg, featuring a map of Luxembourg and, above all, a slogan: “Neistart Lëtzebuerg” (a new beginning for Luxembourg). With three even more marked priorities: quality of life, solidarity and stability.


Lack of growth requires action

Thanks to the good figures of the health authorities, a new beginning starts after a hard phase of confinement, which severely put the homes and businesses of the country to the test. On Wednesday May 20th the Government Council decided new subsidy, which Prime Minister Xavier Bettel had already announced to a large extent. And that complements the other measures taken in recent weeks. Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna (DP), accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers Dan Kersch (LSAP) and François Bausch (Déi Gréng), gave the details.

Firstly, he recalled through a macroeconomic analysis that, in the context of the recovery, “Luxembourg is better placed than the others. Especially since their public finances are healthy. We have more room for maneuver.”. The financial center, which “represents 30% of the country’s wealth”, remained active.

This also offers a significant attack force: this new subsidy, estimated at between 700 and 800 million euros, combined with the previous ones, represents 5.5% of the national GDP, or 3,000 million euros. Belgium and France only made an effort at 2% and Germany at 4.6%. “We will not have growth for two years, so we must act“, insists Pierre Gramegna. This is strengthening the liquidity of households and the economy.

A call was also made for everyone to play the game: individuals  to pay their bills, business, VAT or other taxes, for example, “to create a virtuous circle“.


Recovery fund and flat-rate aid

While the Minister of Tourism Lex Delles (DP) will detail the subsidy dedicated to this sector on Friday, the Minister of Finance returned for the first time to the recovery and solidarity fund for companies. It will be aimed at the most affected companies (in the restaurant, tourism, fitness, events, etc. sector) that have not yet been authorized to reopen on May 20th. They will have to demonstrate a loss of turnover of at least 25% in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The aid will be 1,250 euros per employed employee, 250 euros per temporarily unemployed employee, with maximum limits: Maximum 10,000 euros per month for companies with less than 10 employees, € 50,000 per month for companies with less than 50 employees and € 100,000 per month for companies with more than 50 employees. This assistance will be available from July 1st for a period of six months.

Other lump-sum aid will be awarded to retail and personal care companies: € 1,000 per employee in June, € 750 in July and € 500 in August, up to a limit of € 50,000 per month. This measure is limited to SMEs.

As previously announced, a tax exemption of double the reduction granted to a tenant in commercial leases, up to a maximum of 15,000 euros, will be possible. Rent increases on private leases will be frozen until the end of the year.

On Friday, the Minister of Economy Franz Fayot (LSAP) will give details “on other measures“, said Pierre Gramegna: special help to increase the energy efficiency of companies, expansion of the reimbursable advances provided for in the stabilization pact of May 15th to September 15th and aid for investments in the field of digitization. Certain grants can go up to 800,000 euros. Also supporting lawyers and apprentices with a 10% revaluation of legal aid fees, doubling the cost of living subsidy, the sustainability of the family support license, etc.

The good use of partial unemployment has helped maintain social cohesion“. said Dan Kersch, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor.

For the Minister of Labor, Dan Kersch, the correct use of partial unemployment has avoided a disaster. “In the United States, like us, they had 5% unemployment. Now we believe they will reach 25%”, he said.

The measure has cost 725 million, 32,000 requests have been made, and 325,000 wages have been paid through it. “Partial or temporary unemployment has been the instrument to maintain social cohesion“, says Dan Kersch. 


Partial unemployment maintained until the end of 2020

The partial unemployment measures will continue until the end of the year and the advance system will continue. Short-term conjunctural unemployment due to Covid-19 will evolve towards structural partial unemployment, which will be simplified, because “nobody can pretend that companies do not face changes“.

The plan proposes guaranteeing access to simplified structural partial unemployment to companies affected by the pandemic crisis and that have benefited from partial unemployment due to “force majeure due to Covid-19“, starting in July. Therefore, it follows that companies must present a recovery plan, or even a job retention plan, authorizing layoffs in the structural system of partial unemployment, but that should be avoided as much as possible. Keep in mind that companies will benefit from a simplified, even ultra simplified, digital procedure. This will allow them to reorganize to gradually adapt to the post-Covid-19 situation.

Finally, the economic recovery will also require an ambitious state. “We are not going to reduce public spending, it would be a very bad idea. On the contrary, they will increase 6.3% in 2021. No other country is doing this in Europe”, says François Bausch.


Measures aimed at sustainability

Convinced that, more than ever, it is necessary to go in the direction of sustainability, Minister Déi Gréng detailed a list of ecological measures:

  • The Prime House for energy modernization of buildings increased by 50% for contracts signed from March 20th to March 21st, 2021, work can be done until the end of 2022.
  • An “25% increase in the subsidy” if you replace your heating with a renewable energy based system.
  • A 25% bonus for replacing the boiler.
  • Aid for photovoltaic installations above 30kW will now be accessible to everyone.
  • A subsidy program for private electric charging stations is being developed, complementary to the Chargy Network, aimed at users who want to charge their vehicle at home.
  • A network of fast charging stations will be developed.

These are measures that will be beneficial for the construction sector” at the same time as for the planet.

These ambitious measures are “essential” for the government. Of course, it can be reviewed in the event of a resumption of the epidemic. A working group is studying this situation that nobody wants. Because, as François Bausch pointed out when looking at Pierre Gramegna, “we cannot allow a confinement every three months“.



Luxembourg rolls out another €800m as part of virus recovery plan

New measures include aid for businesses and hotel vouchers to boost tourism industry.

Luxembourg will roll out between €700 and €800 million in fresh aid to help companies as part of the country’s economic recovery plan after businesses have suffered from a nation-wide lockdown put in place two months ago to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The newly announced package includes aid to make up for financial losses, vouchers to spend at hotels to boost the tourism industry, and a stop on rent increases.

Today, we can’t say we have won the fight against the virus“, prime minister Xavier Bettel said during a press conference on Wednesday. “But we have reduced the effects of the virus. We have opted for the right strategy, I’m certain we took the right decision“.

Bettel put the country into lockdown on 16 March, closing shops apart from those selling food, and all restaurants and hotels. While most shops have now opened their doors again, restaurants, bars and hotels are mstill waiting for a further easing of the lockdown.

A new multi-million-euro plan – which comes on top of a rescue package that had already expected to reach a budget of €10.5 billion – aims to maintain jobs and keep companies in business despite the lack of revenue and a reduced need for staff over the past months.

Companies which have been heavily hit will receive €1,250 per month. People receiving cost-of-living allowance will get twice the amount for the rest of the year, while residents and cross-border workers will receive a voucher to spend a night at a hotel in Luxembourg to boost tourism. Landlords will not be able to increase rents until the end of this year.

The health crisis has meant fewer people already unemployed were able to find jobs last month. Unemployment agency ADEM said the high number of unemployed people in April was mainly due to fewer people finding jobs rather than more people signing up for unemployment benefits.

A total of 1,796 new people registered – 18% fewer than in April last year. But only 884 people ended their benefits after finding a new job last month, compared with 2,512 in April 2019. There were 1,895 vacancies last month, 43% less than in the same month of last year.

More measures to lift the lockdown could come out next week, Bettel said. He had previously said restaurants could reopen on 1 June if the spread of the disease remained in check, but he repeated the date is still uncertain.

Foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn has been in talks with France and Belgium to see when the borders will fully reopen“, Bettel said. No date has been agreed but Luxembourg had hopes Belgium would open before France, which will remain fully closed until 15 June.

Looking back, this crisis has shown us to what point it’s difficult to take measures without knowing if they are right or not. We had to act quickly. Figures show us we have avoided a big catastrophe“, Health Minister Paulette Lenert, who was with Bettel, said at the press conference.

We had one aim: pull the hand break. Now our aim is to reintroduce normalcy by gradually reducing these measures“.



Covid-19 bonus for companies in Brussels

COVID-19 premium

The measures taken to counter the spread of the coronavirus are having unprecedented consequences for the economic activity. The Region supports companies that have temporarily closed their doors and are work in certain sectors of activity. Under certain conditions, you can benefit from a bonus of 4,000 € per establishment in the Region. Your application for a voucher must be submitted by June 1st at the latest.

All about the COVID-19 voucher

Who can benefit from this bonus?

Any company (self-employed or business) with fewer than 50 full-time employees (FTE) with at least one operational site in the Brussels-Capital Region and active in an eligible sector of activity: shop-keeper, establishments, … (including bookshops, estate agents, car wash and DVD rental companies). Please check on the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises website that your NACE VAT 2008 codes correspond to your actual activity.

The business must have an economic and commercial purpose. Public companies (or companies considered as such) cannot benefit from this bonus. A different voucher is available for social integration companies.

Reminder: A company can only receive a maximum of 200,000 € of “de minimis” aid during the current fiscal year and the two previous years, according to the Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1407/2013 of 18 December 2013.

The application for the voucher must be submitted before June 1st 2020.

What is the procedure?

Amount of the bond: 4,000 € per operational site located in the Brussels-Capital Region, with a maximum of 20,000 € per company.

Maximum number of requests: Only one request per company.

Who can ask for the bonus?

1. Check with your company number to see if you meet the criteria.

Tip: Make sure that your NACE VAT codes in the Crossroads Business Bank reflect your actual activity.

2. If you meet the criteria, fill out a bonus application form. The deadline is June 1st 2020. The form must include the following attachments:

  • a bank certificate of your company’s account (company name and account number)
  • your last monthly or quarterly VAT return
  • a photo of the bank card linked to the company’s current account (jpeg format)
  • a double-sided photo of the identity card of the person signing the application (jpeg format)


In the event that the subsidy is granted: the company will notify Bruxelles Economie et Emploi immediately if it is subsequently sold or if it ceases to operate.



Bruxelles Economie et Emploi
Direction des Aides aux entreprises

Bd du Jardin Botanique, 20

1035 Ixelles


For more information about this bonus or any other business assistance, please contact 1819 (the Regional Business Information Service hosted at

T  Call 1819


SOURCE: Bruxelles Économie et Emploi

ERTEs are extended until July and are dissociated from the state of alarm

The management bodies of the employers and of the main unions ratified the agreement that their managers had reached at the last minute with the Ministry of Labor, according to which the ERTE designed by the Government after the declaration of the state of alarm are extended until the June 30th.

In this way, they are disconnected from the political decision to extend this exceptional situation and both the Ministry of Labor and the social agents undertake to evaluate its expansion beyond that date based on the economic conditions of the sectors and companies affected, according to the text to which the Government also gave the approval and approved in the Council of Ministers.

This is a balanced agreement based on the value of social dialogue in which we all committed”, said the Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, at the press conference after the extraordinary Council of Ministers, in which she also recognized the negotiating effort of the social partners. “They have demonstrated their commitment and that they are at the height of their country’s history at a time as difficult as this”, Díaz praised.

Along the same lines, the President of the CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, acknowledged that all the parties had to be flexible, and put social dialogue as an example of the effort that the country needs at all times in all its spheres.

It was not easy for the president of the businessmen to convince the CEOE leadership to sign the agreement. The stumbling block to the condition of maintaining employment during the six months after the end of the ERTE continues to be difficult in sectors especially affected by this crisis.


The CEOE wanted to erase the condition of maintaining employment the following six months

In the official statement issued by the employers following the meeting of its management committee, it is recognized that “a longer-term agreement would have been desired that would have given security and certainty to companies and workers, to accompany them in the process of full recovery of the activity”. But it also recognizes that “within the Government’s time and budget margins, the agreement improves the initial proposal”.

The truth is that the CEOE negotiating team has managed to initiate not inconsiderable changes for its interests. On the controversial issue of job maintenance, although the requirement to keep jobs for the six months after returning to activity remains, the employers have achieve an exception. Companies that demonstrate the risk of entering bankruptcy will not have this obligation.

On the other hand, Labor maintains the requirement that companies that have activity in tax havens or distribute dividends cannot access the advantages of ERTE due to force majeure, but at this point it has also made concessions. The requirement is maintained only for those who on February 29th, 2020 had more than 50 employees. In other words, it frees SMEs from this obligation and also establishes that large companies will be able to distribute dividends if they return the Social Security contributions from which they had been exempted, compared to the initial requirement that they intended to also return the benefits they would have received. your workers.


A commission is created to evaluate sectors that can continue in ERTE from July

Another novelty agreed by Labor and social agents is the possibility that ERTEs can be extended beyond June 30th depending on the sanitary conditions of economic opening of companies and territories.

To channel this possibility, a tripartite commission has been created in which Labor, unions and employers will work to define which sectors and companies meet the conditions that allow them to expand the ERTE.

Even so, the agreement contemplates incentives to return to business activity by lowering the exoneration of contributions and quotas for workers during the months of May and June for employees who remain in ERTE and expanding it for those who return to work.