After having proposed to the Council on 24 August a package of support totalling €81.4 billion for 15 countries, indicating at the time that it was still considering a formal request from the Portuguese authorities, on 25 August the EU executive proposed “to include Portugal and make a total of €87.3 billion of financial support from ‘SURE’ to the 16 member states available.

“Following approval of these proposals by the Council, the financial support will take the form of EU loans to Portugal on favourable terms. These loans will help Portugal to cope with sudden increases in public spending aimed at preserving jobs. Specifically, they will help Portugal to cover the costs directly related to the financing of its national working time reduction scheme,” the EU executive said in a statement.

SURE is one of the three ‘safety nets’ of the emergency response package to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, budgeted at a total of €540 billion, agreed by eurozone and EU finance ministers and approved at a European Council on 23 April.

This scheme to preserve jobs will be operational until 31 December 2022, but may be extended for a further six months “if the serious economic disruption caused by the outbreak of Covid-19 persists,” the Council announced at the time.