Comoros and the EU

Coronavirus: the EU's global response to fight the pandemic

08/04/2020 - 19:13
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The European Commission and the High Representative have today presented plans for a robust and targeted EU response to support partner countries' efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Respuesta Mundial de la UE ante Coronavirus


The European Commission and the High Representative today presented plans for a robust and targeted EU response to support partner countries' efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The EU's collective action will focus on addressing the immediate health crisis and the humanitarian needs arising from it, strengthening the partner countries' health, water and sanitation systems and their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic, and mitigate the socioeconomic impact. To support these actions, the EU will guarantee financial support to partner countries in the amount of more than € 15.6 billion from existing external action resources. In cooperation with our partners, we are ensuring that the substantial EU funding that has already been allocated to them is focused on helping them to cope with the impact of the coronavirus.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, has declared: "The virus knows no borders. This global challenge requires intense international cooperation. The European Union is working tirelessly to fight the pandemic. We all know that only together can we stop the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. To this end, the EU will shortly convene a virtual donor conference to help mobilize the necessary funding and support the World Health Organization in assisting the most vulnerable countries."

High Representative and Vice President Josep Borrell added the following: “The coronavirus pandemic requires a united and global response. The European Union and its Member States are playing their role in the fight against this health crisis and its serious consequences, both within and outside its borders. While we are doing our best to support our citizens, we also need to help partners in our direct neighborhood and other regions to cope with the impact it will have on their livelihoods, stability and security, as their problems are also ours. It is a global fight that we will win or lose together. International cooperation and joint efforts, as well as multilateral solutions, are the way to go, for a true global agenda for the future.”

Commissioner for International Associations Jutta Urpilainen explained: “As long as the coronavirus continues to endanger lives somewhere, we will not be sheltered. This is the central element of international cooperation and partnerships. We have to work together to face our common challenges. Today, the European Commission takes a step forward and leads with this global response package worth more than 15.6 billion euros the joint work with our partners, especially in Africa, to achieve a more secure future for all of us."

Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi stated: “As part of our global response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are going to redirect more than € 3.8 billion of funds planned for the Western Balkans and our direct southern and eastern neighbors to allocate them to what is really necessary today, to give an urgent response to the health crisis, in order to strengthen health systems and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. We share a continent and only together can we succeed."

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, warned: “We are facing what could become the biggest humanitarian crisis in decades. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is likely to be dramatic in the most fragile countries, migrants and the most vulnerable people. This is particularly the case for refugee and internally displaced person camps, which are often confined and often unhealthy. For this reason, we have to respond vigorously to the public health emergency, ensure that humanitarian actors continue to have access to the camps to lend their life-saving aid, and support transportation and logistics for key humanitarian operations.”

«Team Europe» Package

The EU response follows a «Team Europe» approach to save lives by providing rapid and targeted support to our partners to deal with this pandemic. This response combines resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to support partner countries and meet their short-term needs, also addressing long-term structural repercussions on societies and the economy. The first «Team Europe» packages are already being implemented in the most direct neighborhood, that is, in the western Balkans and neighboring southern and eastern countries.

The EU, as a world power and a major contributor to the international aid system, will foster a coordinated multilateral response, in partnership with the United Nations, the international financial institutions, the G-7 and the G-20.

The European Union will continue to adapt its response to the evolving situation and focus on the most affected countries in need of health support, such as neighboring countries, Africa, the Western Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa, and areas of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The EU response will focus on the most vulnerable people, such as migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and their host communities, and will integrate its strategic objectives set out in the Green Pact and the Digital Agenda.

Of the overall package of € 15,600 million, € 3,250 million is earmarked for Africa, with € 1,190 million also counted for neighboring countries in North Africa.

The EU is going to grant a total of € 3,070 million to all the neighbourhood countries - € 2,100 million for the southern neighbourhood and € 962 million for the Eastern Partnership countries - and € 800 million to the Western Balkans and Turkey.

In addition, the global package includes a further € 1,420 million in guarantees for Africa and the neighborhood from the European Sustainable Development Fund (EDF).

The EU will support the Asia-Pacific regions with € 1,200 million; another € 291 million will go to the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific region; € 918 million will go to help our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and € 111 million to support overseas countries and territories.

Putting the EU's global response package into practice

€ 502 million for emergency response actions are destined, among other things, to the following:

  • Provide immediate support to the response plans of the World Health Organization and the United Nations, as well as the appeal of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to promote emergency preparedness and response in countries with systems weaker health facilities and those suffering from humanitarian crises.
  • Provide immediate humanitarian aid to affected countries, especially in health, water, sanitation, hygiene and logistics.
  • Support increased production in Europe of personal protective equipment and medical devices to meet urgent needs in Europe and in partner countries.
  • Organize the provision of aid in kind to affected countries through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism.
  • Provide guarantees and liquidity injections to local banks through international financial institutions and European development finance institutions, with the support of the European Sustainable Development Fund.
  • Support global efforts to fight export restrictions and ensure that supply chains remain intact, especially for medical supplies and essential pharmaceuticals.
  • Associate the Western Balkans with EU initiatives such as the Joint Acquisition Agreement for medical equipment and the European rapid alert system for communicable diseases. Countries that are negotiating their accession may also benefit from the EU Solidarity Fund.

€ 2,800 million to support water, health and research systems. The EU will do, among other things, the following:

  • Support partner countries in creating resilient and responsive health and social protection systems.
  • Support communication and awareness efforts on basic protection measures and hygiene recommendations to prevent spread.
  • Allow some EU funds from global health initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the Global Financial Facility use to respond to the coronavirus, while ensuring the continuity of vital health programs.
  • Support research on diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and once a vaccine becomes available, expedited approval and subsidization of vaccines and their supply in vulnerable countries.
  • Support the training of experts, epidemiological surveillance and the strengthening of regional health organizations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific.
  • Welcome the candidate countries of the Western Balkans to the EU Health Security Committee and reflect on the best way to associate potential candidate countries.
  • Support equal access to health systems for migrants, refugees and host communities.

€ 12,280 million to address the economic and social consequences The EU will, inter alia, do the following:

  • Provide direct budgetary aid and financing under favorable conditions for partner countries to adopt reforms in favor of socioeconomic development and poverty reduction, and measures that protect workers during the crisis.
  • Mobilize macro-financial aid to the countries of the Western Balkans and neighboring countries in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Support the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed workers, through guarantees, liquidity injections and technical assistance, and redirect the guarantees of the European Sustainable Development Fund towards short-term risk sharing term of the loans.
  • Provide loans from the European Investment Bank to the public sector, especially for medical equipment and supplies.
  • Collaborate with international organizations and European companies to create strong and resilient value chains in strategic sectors and ensure the labor rights and social responsibility of companies.
  • Promote forms of debt reduction considered by the IMF in the affected countries.