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As of 1 July, EU Member States began to lift their borders to 14 countries, including New Zealand. Given the stabilising situation in Europe, the Member States agreed to take this step with those countries that meet certain criteria.
Paramount is the epidemiological situation within those third countries. New Zealand’s presence on the list recognises the successful local efforts to “stamp it out”.
The decision is a step closer to normality and will allow tourists to visit the many popular European destinations as well as boost those economies that are dependent on this industry.
EU Member States had to take this decision together as the Schengen Agreement is working again and borders are open within Europe. Freedom of movement is at the heart of the European Union.
The list will be reviewed every fortnight to protect Europe’s health security. It follows the EU recommendation to the Schengen Member and Associated States to open up their internal their borders on 15 June.
To check whether you need to self-isolate upon arrival see here for the health measures per country
Across the world, on 27 June, an online concert starring a star-studded line-up took the stage for Global Goal Unite the concert. Hosted by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, the concert featured Coldplay, Usher, Miley Cyrus, Shakira, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The concert and pledging summit were organised by the EU and Global Citizen. Together they raised €6.15 billion in additional funding to help develop and ensure equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments.
The money will also support economic recovery in the world’s most fragile regions and communities. Cumulatively, the EU’s Coronavirus Global Response has raised a total of €15.9 billion since its beginning on 4 May.
EU countries acting together as the Council of the EU are deeply concerned about the global spread of COVID-19 and the devastating toll it is having on lives and economies. Protecting lives and livelihoods – especially of the most vulnerable groups – is an urgent priority.
Working together as “Team Europe”, EU countries welcome the mobilisation of almost €36 billion to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in partner countries and regions. Resources will be allocated based on need and to support medium- and long-term goals in-country.
The "Team Europe" package was launched on 8 April 2020 to support countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The financial support initially pledged was around €20 billion euro. The jump comes from the combined resources from the EU, its member states, and financial institutions.
On 24 June, the second of two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights arrived in Sudan, with humanitarian workers and essential supplies to support the coronavirus response in the country. This humanitarian air bridge to Sudan was made possible by the European Union, Sweden, France and the Humanitarian Logistics Network.
Through the EU’s Global Response, €6 billion is supporting countries in Africa, of which more than €120 million was targeted for Sudan.
Sudan faces one the world's largest humanitarian crises, with around 9 million people estimated to be in need. The country has to grapple with multiple crises, a dire economic one as well as a locust outbreak. The coronavirus pandemic adds to the pressure on the country's beleaguered health system. This air bridge will provide food, shelter, emergency health care, access to clean water, education and protection assistance.
EU Coronavirus response: Vaccines Strategy
For the world to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic we need to develop a vaccine, and fast. The European Union published its approach to finding a safe and universally available vaccine as soon as possible.
To reach these goals the EU will:
The process will be overseen by a board with representatives of all participating Member States. Funding for this push will come from the Emergency Support Instrument.
The European Union plans to build back better and greener from COVID-19. Just one part of this is the new Just Transition Platform.
EU Member States will create their own Just Transition Plans and access funding from the over €150 billion Just Transition Mechanism. Just launched on 29 June, the Just Transition Platform (JTP) offers technical support and advice to public and private stakeholders in coal and other carbon-intensive regions to help them invest in a green future. The JTP will ensure the effective and efficient distribution of funds across the EU.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said about the JTP: “Our Green Deal ambition is to demonstrate a new model for inclusive transformation based on a just transition. As we rebuild our economies and societies, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to grasp the opportunity to build a more sustainable future. With the Just Transition Platform we can start making this a reality.”
The European Union and China held their 22nd bilateral Summit via videoconference on 22 June 2020. On the agenda were bilateral relations; regional and international issues, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery.
“The COVID-pandemic and a number of major bilateral and multilateral challenges show clearly the EU - China partnership is crucial, be it in terms of trade, climate, technology, and the defence of multilateralism. But for our relations to develop further, they must become more rules-based and reciprocal, in order to achieve a real level playing-field”, said President of the European Commission von der Leyen.
The EU stressed that China needs to address concerns on the behaviour of State-Owned Enterprises, subsidy transparency, and rules against forced transfer of technology. The EU also urged China to engage in discussion on industrial subsidies at the WTO and address overcapacity in traditional and high-tech sectors.
On international issues, the EU wants China to commit to ambitious domestic and international actions to reduce emissions and to set a domestic climate neutrality target as soon as possible. The EU also pressed China to contribute to the global effort against COVID-19 by granting developing countries debt relief and called on China to fully participate in the review of the international health response to COVID-19.
On human rights, the EU expressed its grave concern about the new national security law in Hong Kong, China’s deteriorating domestic human rights situation – in particular Xinjiang, Tibet, and the disappearance of citizen journalists covering the pandemic in Wuhan – and the detention of Gui Minhai, Michael Kovrig, and Michael Spavor.
On 29 June, the Maduro regime announced that the EU Ambassador to Venezuela had 72 hours to leave the country. The EU firmly condemns this decision and profoundly regrets the further international isolation that will result. The EU calls for this decision to be reversed.
The EU maintains its position that the deep crisis Venezuela is experiencing can only be addressed through a peaceful and negotiated solution among Venezuelans. This solution must be based on credible elections, the recognition and respect of the role and independence of all democratically elected institutions, the release of all political prisoners and the upholding of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The EU is committed to support the Venezuelan people and contribute to resolve the political crisis and alleviate the suffering of the population through its humanitarian assistance.
The Europe Institute has released a new blog post about Europe’s response to COVID-19. This time Logan Carmichael looks at how “one of the most digitally advanced societies in the world” has unintentionally prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, by slowly moving online in the past three decades. She looks at the Estonia’s development into a global frontrunner of digitisation and what lessons its experience holds for the world as it is moves online in response to the pandemic.
Read the blog post here. The Europe Institute is hosting a blog series about Europe and its experience of the coronavirus, you can read the other entries here. The Europe Institute also host events and announces new blog posts over on its Facebook channel here.
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