Emergency aid for companies: repayment of corona aid: Habeck calls on countries to adopt a moratorium

Robert Habeck

In a letter, the Federal Minister of Economics asked the federal states to give companies more time.

(Foto: Getty Images)

Berlin Economics and climate minister Robert Habeck (Greens) urges in a letter to the economics ministers of the federal states for a “repayment moratorium” for the corona emergency aid. The letter is available to the Handelsblatt.

In the midst of the current corona wave, the federal states are currently demanding a large amount of the “Corona emergency aid” paid out in spring 2020 back. A total of 287.8 million euros in federal funds are to be reimbursed to small businesses and the self-employed, as the Handelsblatt reported, citing a survey conducted by the federal states’ ministries of economics and development banks.

Habeck now proposes in his letter to grant “reasonable deadlines” and to extend the due dates. The minister also wants to give the federal states more time to formulate their final reports for the federal government. You were originally supposed to deliver this in mid-2022, now you have six months more time. That should give them more leeway.

“Due to the current situation, we should jointly give small businesses and self-employed people a delay in repayments in order to ensure the continuation of businesses and, in particular, the economic existence of many self-employed people,” writes Habeck.

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As a positive example, the Vice Chancellor named the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the government has already extended the repayment period to October 31, 2022. “Many small businesses, freelancers and self-employed people are still affected by the consequences of the pandemic,” says NRW Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart (FDP).

Checks from the summer

When the first lockdown came in March 2020, the federal government wanted to quickly secure the company’s liquidity. Small businesses and self-employed people could get up to 15,000 euros at short notice. To do this, they had to assess whether their liquidity would be sufficient within the next three months. The federal states are responsible for the disbursement and now for the repayment claims.


The federal states had already reviewed the first companies in 2020. Large-scale controls started this summer. In doing so, they assess whether the companies actually have a liquidity bottleneck. If this is not the case, they ask for the money back.

Declines in sales or additional costs are not included in the invoice. But that is exactly what the entrepreneurs and self-employed have often had to use the money for – and they cannot simply pay it back now. In addition, the applicants could not claim any wages for themselves that they would otherwise have received from their own income.

At the same time, there is movement in the corona aid that is still running. In this case, it is the countries that propose improvements in a letter to Habeck. “The common goal of the federal states is not to be held responsible for any deterioration in bridging aid IV compared to the existing pandemic-related economic aid,” said Pinkwart, who is chairman of the conference of economic ministers.
The federal states therefore proposed that Bridging Aid IV be extended until summer 2022 within the scope of the state aid options. In the letter, the states also suggested advance payments in order to supply the companies with liquidity as quickly as possible in January 2022.

More: Thousands upon thousands of entrepreneurs and the self-employed should repay corona aid

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