Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure DE-2020-13/352 – Updated – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 23 March 2020 – 30 June 2022|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
|Author||Sandra Vogel (IW)|
|Measure added||07 April 2020 (updated 08 November 2023)|
The goal of this measure is to provide financial support to companies for investments and working capital. Improved conditions for receiving loans are based on the European Unions "Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak". This measure is part of a broader rescue package for the German economy adopted by the Federal Government at the end of March 2020. The package also includes changes in tax law, all of them directed at easing tax burdens for companies and also includes easier access to loans, start-up support or financial help for solo- or micro entrepreneurs, eased up rules for short-time work and eased up rules regards insolvency proceedings.
The companies in need of financial assistance due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak can apply for loans worth up up to €1 billion. However, the loan sum is limited to one of the following criteria:
The loans must be paid back within a maximum of 10 years and the related interest rates were reduced (between 1% and 2.12% annually). To improve companies‘ chances to receive such a loan, the KfW bank (the German Credit Institute for Reconstruction) takes over the risks borne by the company’s house bank (80% of the risks for large companies and even 90% of the risks for SMEs). Companies that have been in the market for at least three, but not five years, or companies that can provide two financial statements can also apply for loans granting the same conditions. However, in this case, companies need to apply for the ERP Start Up Loan - Universal.
Initially, the KfW issued a press release with the overall usage of the COVID-19 related measures administered by the bank. According to the press release, the KfW received over 70,000 loan applications (worth €50 billion) since 23 March 2020, 98.5% of these application were not higher than €3 million. In another press release from 6 November 2020, the bank stated to have received 95,000 applications for all its additional COVID-19 related programmes. The bank has finalised 99% of the applications. Around 97% of the applicants were small and medium-sized companies. Granted sums amounted to a volume of nearly €46 billion.
As of 11 August 2020, the KfW received 81,359 loan applications, 99.8% of these applications were not higher than €3 million. Overall, 99.7% of all applications have been processed. The KfW has granted a total sum of €42.6 billion.
On 11 May 2022, the KfW announced that demand for grants from COVID-19 related aid programmes kept decreasing. During the first three quarters of 2022, the bank provided €1.6 billion.
At the beginning of February 2021, the KfW reported to have granted a total of €28.3 billion in 2020 for this programme (as part of its credit portfolio to help stabilise the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic).
At the end of March 2021, the KfW also stated that it had spent around €49 billion in all its programmes related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
On 17 May 2021, the KfW stated that the bank granted €56 billion in funds related to COVID-19 special programmes such as this one.
On 11 August 2021, the KfW stated that the bank granted €58.6 billion in funds related to COVID-19 related special programmes between the beginning of the crisis and 31 July 2021. Compared to the previous-year period (€33.8 billion) the overall volume of aid programmes related to COVID-19 in the first half of 2021 has decreased to €6.5 billion. This decrease is attributed to the end of the lockdown and to the nationwide ease of restrictions in the second quarter of 2021. Mostly, SMEs used the funds.
On 3 November 2021, the KfW stated that the demand for grants from COVID-19 related aid programmes continued to decrease. In the first three quarters of 2021, the bank provided grants worth €8.4 billion in this context.
In August 2022, the KfW reported that demand for COVID-19 related support grants accelerated before the closure of the programmes at the end of April 2023. In the first half of 2022, the promotional bank issued grants worth €3.6 billion.
In its 2022 annual financial report, KfW disclosed that €22.4 billion had been utilized through allocation transactions from the WSF, with an extra €12 billion allocated for COVID-related aid.
|Does not apply to workers||
|Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Direct consultation outside a formal body||Direct consultation outside a formal body|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
German social partners are usually consulted by the Federal Government on broader measures, though no formal tripartite social dialogue structure exists in Germany at the federal level.
The Confederation of German Employers' Association (BDA) and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) jointly welcomed the crisis package adopted by the Federal Government in spring 2020. Social partners highlighted in the press release to be in support of the KfW administered measures targeting companies.
Eurofound (2020), KfW entrepreneur loan, measure DE-2020-13/352 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-13_352.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.