Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative

The European Commission introduced the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) on 13th March 2020 to direct €37 billion under the European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) to fight the Coronavirus crisis. The European Parliament voted almost unanimously in favour of the Commission proposals on 26th March and the Council adopted the package on 30th March 2020. Regulation EU 2020/460 came into effect on 1st April 2020. 

The CRII helped Member States to fund their coronavirus crisis response. It combined the mobilisation of immediate financial support from the ESIF to address the most pressing needs, with the maximum possible flexibility in the use of the funds. The overarching objective was to use the full portfolio of funding options under the EU budget to support Member States – with maximum flexibility, minimum additional administrative work, and as quickly as possible.  

What this meant for the ESF:

  • The Commission did not request a refund of €7.9bn 2019 prefinancing from Member States. Amounts not recovered were to be used to accelerate investments related to the COVID-19 outbreak. This was nil for the ESF in Ireland.
  • Another €29 billion was disbursed early from allocations that would have been due later in the year.
  • Allow Financial Instruments to provide support in the form of working capital to SMEs, if necessary, as a temporary measure to provide an effective response to the pandemic.
  • Provide that expenditure for operations in response to COVID-19 was eligible from 1st February 2020.
  • Simplify the procedures for the Commission to approve relevant Operational Programme amendments.
  • Allow Member States, during the 2014-20 programming period, to transfer up to 8% of their allocation of a Priority and no more than 4 % of the overall OP budget to another Priority of the OP without Commission approval.

The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative factsheet.

More information on the CRII is available at