EU approves 50 billion euro Belgian state aid for coronavirus-hit firms
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission, in charge of EU state aid rules, approved on Saturday a 50 billion euro Belgian loan guarantee scheme that aims to support companies during the coronavirus pandemic. The support, in the form of state guarantees on new short-term loans, will be accessible to all companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed traders
Brussels: The European Commission, in charge of EU state aid rules, approved on Saturday a 50 billion euro Belgian loan guarantee scheme that aims to support companies during the coronavirus pandemic.
The support, in the form of state guarantees on new short-term loans, will be accessible to all companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed traders.
The scheme aims to help businesses affected by the current crisis cover their liquidity needs and stay afloat.
"It will help ... businesses cover their immediate needs and continue their activities during and after the outbreak," Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.