The EU countries and Britain granted € 227.97 billion (US $ 228 billion) in state aid in 2020 to support businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Poland and Greece leading the list, the European Commission said on Thursday.
The Commission, which acts as the competition enforcer in the European Union, temporarily relaxed its state aid rules in March 2020 to allow governments to help businesses ranging from hotels to airlines to transport companies.
The temporary rules expired in June of this year. Britain withdrew from the bloc in January 2020.
According to the EU executive body, Poland and Greece had the largest share of COVID state aid spending in relation to their national gross domestic product for 2020, at 3.8% and 3.6% respectively.
Germany granted pandemic state aid amounting to 1,9% of its GDP.
“The temporary measures taken were proportionate and necessary, and proportionate to the economic damage suffered during the crisis,” Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.