European Union External Action

We Stand Together against COVID-19

In Europe and in the world, all minds are focused on actions to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19 and mitigate the effects of the crisis. The European Union works on all fronts to support these efforts. We take this opportunity to thank all those who are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic and care for those in need, anywhere in the world.

Latest updates:

European Commission website on common European response to the outbreak of COVID-19

European Commission: Coronavirus Global Response - International Pledging Event

Situation of COVID-19 cases reported within the EU/EEA and the UK (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

Situations of COVID-19 cases worldwide (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

Coronavirus: News and Useful Information

 

Messages from HR/VP Josep Borrell

HRVP Blog on European defence: fighting COVID-19, preparing for the future

The coronavirus pandemic will very likely deteriorate our security environment in the years to come, increasing the need for a stronger European Union security and defence policy, and for a stronger Union in the world.

HRVP Blog on Sahel

The world’s attention is legitimately focused on the global response to the coronavirus crisis. Despite its historic scale and intensity, COVID 19 does not rid us of the many other regional and global challenges we face. Quite the contrary: since it weakens the stability and development efforts of some countries, COVID-19 is an aggravating factor. We must therefore not only maintain our engagement with our partners but strengthen it.

World Press Freedom Day pictoquote

This year, we mark World Press Freedom Day in the midst of a global pandemic. This gives us a special reason to pay tribute to all the journalists and media workers who bring us the news and analyse the world we are in.

A health crisis at the outset, the coronavirus pandemic soon turned into an unprecedented economic and social crisis. In an article published with several European think tanks, I sketch how COVID-19 could magnify three global developments.

It is now more than a month that the corona virus has Europe in its grip. While every day we work flat out to address the crisis in all its aspects, it is good to step back and reflect on what living with COVID19 means, for our daily lives, for Europe, for the wider world and how it will affect our society.

The coronavirus has not only Europe but the entire global community in its grip and is the world’s common enemy. An enemy we can only defeat with a global approach and cross-border coordination. And while we have to mobilise all our resources to fight the virus at home, now is also the time to look beyond our borders, most specifically at our sister continent Africa and the Southern Neighbourhood, as well as at the Western Balkans, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Because solidarity cannot be an empty word and also because for as long as the virus will not be eradicated everywhere, it will remain a threat to all of us.

Tackling the global pandemic requires an unprecedented mobilisation at all levels.

The European Union is doing everything it can to tackle the #coronavirus crisis and its consequences. It is now that we have to demonstrate what European and global solidarity really means. These unprecedented events call for unprecedented international action.

COVID-19 will reshape our world. We don’t yet know when the crisis will end. But we can be sure that by the time it does, our world will look very different. How different will depend on the choices we make today.

Watch my video message on the outbreak and the EU’s response, including our efforts to coordinate the repatriation of thousands of European stranded abroad.

Consular support & Repatriation - #WeTakeYouHome

HR/VP Josep Borrell, supported by the European External Action Service, the European Commission and Delegations to the EU around the world, was in the lead to coordinate the work with Member States and help EU travellers stranded in third countries to safely reach their homes. In an unprecedented repatriation effort, the EU has managed to bring home over half a million of its citizens who were affected by coronavirus travel restrictions across the world. Read our factsheet on consular support and repatriation & find out more about the different stories and experiences from EU citizens repatriated thanks to the EU and Member States.

 

High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell, supported by the EEAS, the Commission and EU Delegations around the world, led the work to strengthen coordination among Member States to help EU citizens who were stranded outside the EU

Two more repatriation flights departing from Banjul International Airport, organised by the Dutch and Spanish governments this time and both operated under the umbrella of the UCPM, brought home a total of 90 and 298 stranded European citizens and residents, respectively.

EU military and civilians together against COVID-19

From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the armed forces of EU Member States have played a critical role in fighting the virus – abroad, at home and in European solidarity. They are providing transport and logistic support, building field hospitals in record time, deploying their medical staff, and supporting national authorities and services. The European External Action Service set up a dedicated task force to support these efforts, in particular by facilitating the exchange of information.

The three EU Delegations worked in close cooperation with each other and with France to organize an Air France sweeper flight

The stranded travelers returned home aboard the national carriers of 14 EU Member States and partner countries in a coordinated operation led by the EU Delegation in New Delhi

More than 1.000 EU citizens, who were in Montenegro at the time of the coronavirus epidemic outbreak, have returned to their countries thanks to the committed cooperation of the Government of Montenegro and EU Member State embassies, coordinated by the EU Delegation to Montenegro. Since 17 March, more than 20 flights and trips by road were organised bringing EU citizens safely back home.

Stranded European Union citizens left Nairobi on Thursday in a special Ethiopian Airways flight to Frankfurt via Addis, organised by the EU Delegation to Kenya.

On 22 April, EULEX chartered a plane from Warsaw, Poland to Pristina, Kosovo to bring back 31 Polish police officers from EULEX’s Formed Police Unit. At the same time, EULEX facilitated the cost-free repatriation of twelve Kosovo citizens stranded in Poland and Czechia, following a request by the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora.

Two chartered flights organized under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism repatriate EU citizens from Barbados and other countries

The COVID-19 outbreak caused the Gambian authorities to close Gambian airspace, and this is when the EUD in Banjul started realising just how many stranded European citizens were in the country. Since, the EUD has been working all hours to help get as many as possible airlifted back to European destinations, and facilitate their onward travel to their homes anywhere in Europe.

A total of 670 Europeans stranded in Venezuela have safely returned to Europe in the last three weeks aboard two flights

Between 23 March and 3 April, a total of ten repatriation flights from Cuba have been organized under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). The repatriation flights have brought home over 1857 EU citizens and around 121 non-EU residents of more than 46 nationalities, including from 25 EU Member States.

The majority of these flights was supported by the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), an instrument designed to enhance the protection of EU citizens in crisis situations.

Concerted efforts by Embassies and Honorary Consuls in collaboration with EU Delegations in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, ensured that close to 500 stranded Europeans made it home safely.

covid-19, cabo verde

Nearly a million EU tourists annually visit the small islands of Cabo Verde. Many still came in March, and got "stranded".

covid-19, nepal

Around 6000 Europeans were in Nepal for the March trekking season. Soon after their arrival, the nation went into complete lockdown due to the Corona virus.

covid-19, uganda

Repatriation operations continue as Europeans are returned safely back home from Uganda.

Lithuania repatriated more than 400 EU citizens and several European countries helped Lithuanian citizens to return back home

On March 30th, a plane left Asunción to Frankfurt with approximately 340 european citizens who were stranded in Paraguay after commercial flights to Europe were cancelled and borders closed.

Ce samedi 4 avril, un vol Brussels Airlines spécialement affrété pour le trajet Abidjan-Conakry-Bruxelles a permis de rapatrier 81 ressortissants européens de passage en Côte d’Ivoire, avec à bord beaucoup de citoyens allemands et belges mais aussi des passagers de dix autres Etats de l’UE.

On Sunday evening 5 April, the EU Delegations to Sierra Leone and Liberia facilitated the successful repatriation to Brussels of nearly 250 citizens from the EU, but also from the Schengen area and from the UK.

Today, in a pandemic, all countries are taking steps to return their citizens who are in other countries. 300 Europeans, of which 70 French, returned home in good health after a 14-day quarantine in Uzbekistan.

More than 500 European citizens from more than 20 countries were able to return home, thanks to a joint effort led by Germany and France that included the collaboration of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Nicaragua and the coordination with the diplomatic and consular representations of Member States of the EU in the region.

The EU Delegation to Indonesia and the embassies of the EU Member states in Jakarta have been working together on responding to the very acute problem of the thousands of European tourists stranded in the country, especially in Bali.

Three repatriation flights left Buenos Aires to Vienna, Paris and Frankfurt bringing home 1,050 EU citizens.

07/04/20- Suva, Fiji - Nearly 300 Europeans, from the European Union, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are on their way home from Fiji, including 183 on a repatriation flight operated by Fiji Airways and chartered by Germany. Others were able to transit back to Europe on flights to Sydney and Los Angeles.

Due to the global crisis caused by Covid 19, many Europeans lost the opportunity to go back to the continent from Guatemala. In response 3 EU Member States (Germany, France, Spain) organized 5 repatriation flights for tourists from their own countries and other European nations

On the 3rd of April, the Dutch Embassy in Accra, Ghana and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs took the lead to evacuate EU stranded tourists and non-residents from Ghana.

Since mid-March, the EU Delegation to Vietnam is liaising with the authorities and is actively supporting and coordinating the member states in the organization of repatriation flights. So far, the EU Civilian Protection Mechanism (UCPM) has facilitated five repatriation flights operated by Austria, Czechia, Germany and Lithuania, for more than 1,500 EU travellers.

Austria asked for financial support under the European Union's Civil Protection Mechanism to transport citizens from Buenos Aires to Vienna

The German Embassy in Bangkok, the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand and diplomatic missions of other EU Member States are working together to bring EU citizens stranded in Thailand back home

covid-19, philippines © NL emb twitter

More than 5,000 tourists were present in the country at the moment of the Coronavirus outbreak.

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Following the establishment of travel restrictions, international airlines serving the route Europe - Seychelles suspended numerous flights. This has left many European citizens stranded.

Thousands of European tourists have managed to safely go back home from the Maldives and Sri Lanka, thanks to joint work of the European Union and its member states.

EU support

During these times of crisis, the European Union, together with several countries, regions and cities, have joined forces to lend a helping hand to neighbours, giving assistance to those most in need, both within and outside Europe. Several actions and initiatives have also been put in place in order to make this unfamiliar situation more endurable. This truly reflects European solidarity at its best.

The global coronavirus pandemic that has gripped humanity continues. Its results are yet to be summarised, but we can already say that this pandemic will be one of the key events of this century. In the past few months, many things have changed and life, work, obligations, and even the most ordinary socialising activities have taken on new forms.

EU supports the fight against COVID-19

To support the fight against Covid-19, EUPOL COPPS donated EUR 60,000 worth of protective equipment and sanitiser to the Palestinian Civil Police. EUPOL COPPS is the EU's civilian police and rule of law mission for the Palestinian Territory.

EU UNICEF anti-COVID cargo TJK

The European Delegation in Tajikistan and UNICEF Tajikistan delivers critical medical supplies to support the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Republic of Tajikistanin the battle against COVID-19.

covid-19, Moldova

70 localities in the Republic of Moldova benefit from protective equipment to be used for preventing and combating gender-based and domestic violence, including violence against children, and to help out vulnerable groups. It also aims to provide local and district multidisciplinary teams with protective equipment to respond in a coordinated, effective and prompt manner to cases of violence which represent an increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A team of EU-funded researchers in Cambridge University has launched an app that records voice, breathing and coughs – data, which has the potential to assist the development of machine learning algorithms that could make it easier to diagnose COVID-19.

Countering Covid-19: EU Advisory Mission donates protective equipment to Ukrainian civilian security sector

The European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) reached yesterday out to Ukrainian institutions caught up in the fight against Covid-19 by donating protective equipment to those on the frontline who are putting their lives and well-being at risk.

Given the current emergency situation created by COVID-19 in Timor-Leste, the EU funded project will also support the National Parliament, Ministry of State Administration and the Municipal Authorities to strengthen their response to the pandemic, particularly at municipal level.

 

Face au danger de la pandémie, l’Union européenne a dû, au Burkina Faso comme ailleurs, s’adapter rapidement et réorganiser la façon de travailler pour protéger l’équipe de la délégation ainsi que les partenaires. Ces mesures n’empêchent nullement l’ambassadeur Wolfram Vetter et ses collègues de mobiliser pleinement les ressources européennes pour lutter contre le COVID-19 au Burkina Faso, bien au contraire.

Dans le cadre de la mobilisation sociale contre le COVID-19, l'Union européenne et ses partenaires ont lancé une vaste campagne de prévention pour encourager et inciter les Maliennes et Maliens à adopter quotidiennement les gestes barrières recommandés par l'Organisation Mondiale de la Santé.

Dans le cadre de la mobilisation sociale contre le COVID-19, l'Union européenne et ses partenaires ont lancé une vaste campagne de prévention pour encourager les Maliens à adopter les gestes barrières.

Parmi les nombreuses activités déployées figure une chanson enregistrée par un collectif de six artistes vedettes - Vieux Farka Touré, Keltoum Waletr, Ben Zabo, Naba Traoré, Petit Goro et Ami Yérélowo - issus de la jeune génération.

Following up on the massively covered Team Europe announcement of 50 million Euro for the Covid-19 response in Nigeria, food items and hand-washing equipment were distributed to vulnerable communities in and around Abuja. A total of 2,200 households whose livelihoods have been mostly impacted by the crisis were targeted in the exercise

 

This is a joint initiative of the European Union and the Metropolitan Governance Project to provide timely relief. A symbolic act but still necessary for the disadvantaged population of El Salvador, with this basic food basket that we want to distribute among the citizens.

This is the most affected area in El Salvador, on health and economic impact due to Covid-19.

As the 3rd of May will mark the World Press Freedom Day, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the value of a free and independent press for our democratic societies. The topic chosen for this year "Journalism without Fear or Favour" resonates in these risky times for media freedom, as many governments could be tempted to use the current emergency situation to restrict freedom of expression and by extension press freedom.

On International Workers Day on 1 May, the EU’s Myan Ku Emergency Cash Fund transfers the first payments to garment workers who have been suspended or terminated due to the impact the COVID-19 crisis has on Myanmar’s garment sector.

covid-19, serbia

They say that viruses don’t discriminate. But the fact that emergency measures do, has heightened our sense of solidarity: while the elderly are staying at home, health professionals, pharmacists, sales people, drivers, the military, and the police remain at the “front line” of the fight. There is, however, another group of people offering assistance at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic: volunteers and organisations that took upon themselves to help the elderly and the socially vulnerable.

covid-19, serbia

“They are the only ones I can rely on. I can count on them to bring me food and medicine, things I need every day. I’m grateful for their kindness and poatience; I trust them and love them. This past year felt like I had two daughters,” says the old lady (85) from Moravci village whose life changed when geronto-housewives started working in Ljig, Mionica and Lajkovac.

#VaccinesWork: Immunization saves millions of lives every year. This year, the World Immunization Week takes on greater significance than ever since the Covid-19 outbreak reveals what is at stake when communities do not have the protective shield of immunization against an infectious disease.

Ahead of the 6 May meeting between the EU and the region, the European Union reinforces its support to the Western Balkans to address the coronavirus crisis.

covid-19, RDC

L’ambassadeur de l'Union européenne en République Démocratique du Congo (RDC), Jean-Marc Châtaigner, a remis ce mardi 28 avril, au ministre de la santé publique, Dr. Eteni Longondo, un lot de matériel et de médicaments pour appuyer la riposte contre le coronavirus qui touche actuellement sept des vingt-six provinces dont la capitale Kinshasa, l’épicentre.

covid-19, cote d'ivoire

Magic System Foundation and the European Union have decided to support the government's efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus by providing food and equipment to prevent the epidemic to thousands of families in the autonomous district of Abidjan.

covid-19, bangladesh

Practicing physical distancing is easier said than done for the more than 850,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, living in cramped conditions in what is effectively the world’s largest refugee camp. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t precautions that those living in Cox’s Bazar can take to minimize the risk of contracting diseases like COVID-19. In fact, many children there have already been doing one of the most important things they can do to protect themselves: washing their hands thoroughly and regularly.

covid-19, nepal

In the fight against the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Nepal extended the nationwide lockdown. Since the outbreak, face masks and sanitizers are scarce in the market. This has mobilised several local initiatives and organisations to produce masks; however, quality standards and availability remain an issue. Through the EU SWITCH-Asia Parya Sampada project, UN-Habitat and implementing partners are joining forces to respond at best to the numerous challenges posed by the pandemic.

covid-19, fiji

Empower Pacific has opened counselling helplines where expert counsellors are responding to calls from all over Fiji 24/7. This helpline counselling service aims to respond to people’s stress and anxieties under the current nationwide response to COVID-19 undertaken by the Government, which includes stringent movement restrictions imposed in the Greater Lautoka Area on 20 March 2020, where Empower Pacific is based. Empower Pacific is one of the partner civil society organisations working with the EU funded Fiji 'Access to Justice Project'.

COVID-19 is affecting countries around the world, with terrible consequences in terms of loss of life and livelihoods. But it is in developing countries, where health systems are often weak and lack resources, that the effects will be felt particularly harshly.

In the streets of Mbanza Kongo and Uíge, in the north of the country, the population is being invited to use the hydro-alcoholic gels at their disposal and check more information on sanitary measures during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Saleema, 28, is a refugee from Afghanistan and is completing her medical studies to become the first female Turkmen doctor in the country.

On 17 April, the European Union (EU) Delegation to El Salvador distributed close to 300 personal protective kits to Salvadoran journalists, photographers, and camerapersons from more than 40 media outlets, including international news agencies’ correspondents. Each kit contained several N95 respirator masks and hand sanitiser.

covid-19, sierra leone

As part of its many ongoing actions to support the country's response plan to COVID-19, the EU to Sierra Leone is co-funding the Mask Up Freetown Initiative in collaboration with the Freetown City Council, Madam Wokie Fashion House, the Antonia Rüdiger Foundation and other local partners.

A l’occasion de la construction de camps pour les forces de sécurité intérieures, l'Union européenne a fourni des kits d'hygiène aux forces en charge de la sécurisation des chantiers.

Dans le cadre de la réponse à la crise du COVID-19 en République Centrafricaine, la Maison des Services de la Société civile a déjà organisé 29 sessions de formation et de sensibilisation sur les messages clés liés au COVID-19, dont 21 au sein de la Maison (145 leaders associatifs formés). Huit autres sessions (84 participants) ont déjà eu lieu à l’extérieur de la maison, auprès des Organisations de la Société Civile (OSC) ayant sollicité l’organisation de sessions supplémentaires pour leurs membres.

La Délégation de l’Union européenne en République centrafricaine conduit actuellement une campagne de sensibilisation sur le COVID-19. Parmi les différentes actions, figurent la composition d’un titre musical et la réalisation d’un clip, financé par l’Union européenne.

Covid-19 has taken humanity by surprise and had a profound effect upon international organisations and governments. The Council of Europe and the EU could not be exceptions to such a rule.

The thermal imaging system, formally known as the WG520 was installed on 8 April 2020 at Al Karamah Crossing, the main crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank.

A portable thermal imaging fever system helps border & customs officials to identify from a distance whether travellers have an above normal body temperature.

Dans le cadre de la crise sanitaire mondiale actuelle liée à la pandémie du coronavirus, la Délégation de l'Union européenne au Bénin s'est associée au Foyer Don Bosco Centre Maman Marguerite Aidjèdo, pour la sensibilisation des usagers du marché Dantokpa aux gestes barrières.

covid-19, timor-leste, eu-un

During this unprecedented COVID-19 global emergency, the European Union and United Nations remain committed to protecting and supporting women and girls in Timor-Leste and have dedicated USD1 million funding from the flagship Spotlight Initiative budget to address the increased risks of violence against women and girls in context of the pandemic.

covid-19

Weekends inside… Easter ‘holidays’ round the corner... Unfortunately, due to the current circumstances many of us had to cancel our planned holidays and activities, to avoid the risks of getting and spreading the virus, and flatten the curve. Call it a ‘staycation’, call it a ‘holistay’, what’s important is to try and make the utmost of your time at home. Amongst others, the EU platform ‘Creative Europe At Home’ offers some suggestions to occupy your days and stay entertained online.

The European Union (EU) and its Member States today provided the Government of Jamaica with 29 ventilators, breathing machines that support patients who need intensive care in hospitals, and that are essential to saving the lives of those in critical condition due to Covid-19 infection.

The European Union has created a €5 million (7.9 billion MMK) emergency cash fund to assist thousands of garment workers who lost their jobs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Today marks the International Roma Day and, despite the world having its eyes set on the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to take stock of the persisting problems that the Roma population faces across Europe. These challenges are particularly severe in the current state of global pandemic and need to be addressed urgently.

Dans le contexte de crise sanitaire liée au Covid-19, la Délégation de l’Union européenne et la Fondation Magic System – du nom du célèbre groupe de musique – continuent de défendre les valeurs promues cette année en Côte d’Ivoire dans le cadre de l’UE Magic Tour.

“We produce and deliver around 100 face shields for medical workers across Vojvodina,” says Professor Vladimir Todorović, manager of Idea Laboratory (iDEAlab) the University in Novi Sad.
Inspired by the story about 3D-printed protective equipment provided to Italian hospitals in the worst COVID-19 hotspots, iDEAlab has decided to offer assistance to the Clinical Center of Vojvodina at a crucial time for medical personnel.

Follow updates on the latest coordinated measures to contain the virus and its economic impact inside and outside EU borders.

Civilian CSDP Mission equips & coaches Malian Internal Security Forces to protect citizens against Covid-19

 

The EU Capacity Building Mission in Mali coaches since two years the Crisis Management Centre of the Ministry for Security and Civil Protection which coordinates currently the Malian response to the Corona-pandemic.

Serbia will be able to test more samples on COVID-19 than before thanks to a system of referencet laboratories equipped by the European Union, so epidemiologists in Serbia will be able to control the spread of this dangerous disease more quickly.

EU Deputy Head of Mission joined Equity Bank and the UNICEF to launch the distribution of the 32,000 leaflets for COVID19 prevention

The European Union has teamed up with the Government of South Sudan, UNICEF, Mott MacDonald, Charlie Goldsmith Associates and Equity Bank to provide information on the risk of COVID-19 and its prevention to school personnel across South Sudan.

On 28 March 2020, Albania sent 30 doctors and nurses to Italy to support its heavily hit neighbour in fighting the coronavirus.

In these challenging times, the EU and Team Europe remain Georgia's strongest partner. This page contains a list of support we are mobilising which is updated regularly. We take this opportunity to thank all those who are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic and care for those in need, anywhere in the world.

#UnitedInDistance – Stories of solidarity in the time of Coronavirus

During these trying times we give tribute to the many good souls with a big heart, in Europe and across the globe, who are doing their part to help other people and keep the spirits up! These people deserve all the recognition in the world, no matter how big or small their gestures are, because every little deed and act of solidarity is priceless in times of crisis. These citizens – in Europe and beyond – are the best ambassadors of those values that are at the core of the European Union. With our campaign #UnitedInDistance we are showing only a few examples of this generosity, because we know that there are many people out there who are going out of their way to help others to get through this difficult period, and we salute them too.

High school students and teachers volunteer to tutor children who need distance learning during the Covis-19 crisis

An EU-supported UNDP course helps seniors from rural areas to keep in touch with their family and friends online

covid-19, adopt a grandparent

An elderly care home in the UK has started an ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ initiative online after people stopped visiting the residents due to the coronavirus outbreak. Thousands of people from across the world have signed up to this scheme aimed to help battle loneliness among the elderly during the pandemic.

covid-19, hope rainbow in Quebec © Sylvain Roy Roussel/CBC

Gabriella Cucinelli, an early childhood educator in Quebec City, wanted to share a message of hope within her province. Inspired by her native country Italy, Gabriella decided to bring the rainbow symbol of hope from Europe to Canada, combining this with helping non-profit organisations (NPOs).

Turkoz Fatih is 36 years old and owns nine mobile phone accessories shops in Belgium. His shops are now closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, nevertheless, Turkoz couldn’t just sit on his hands.

A Spanish NGO organises video-calls with old people living in nursing homes, so they do not feel alone

A local food chain to exchange fresh vegetables helps local producers and those with limited access to food these days

The Banda Musical de Lagares is a local band from Porto, Portugal, with around 64 people between 12 and 60 years. 2020 marks their 120 Anniversary but the current coronavirus outbreak changed their birthday plans: they had a series of events in the agenda that had to be cancelled or postponed until further notice.

A French association works closely with the police and social workers to organise express removals and find alternative housing for victims of domestic violence, as cases have experienced a dramatic increase under the lockdown

A neighborhood initiative to buy food for those who lost their jobs due to the outbreak has now spread all over the country

Roxana was 8 years old when she met Telma, her next-door neighbor. Back then, Telma often took care of her, becoming somewhat of a grandmother who knitted colorful scarves and hats for the little kid.

This team from the PrivaSI Lab in the University of the Aegean, in Greece, joined forces (and expertise) to help those helping.

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Jessica is one of Malta's best table-tennis players. Despite her success, Jessica is a very modest girl with a warm smile and a big heart.

Botir Arifdjanov: “After the announcement of quarantine, we witnessed a huge influx of requests of more than 5 times to our website. Of course, we were preparing ourselves for increase, but that much we could not foresee.

Filipe Ribeiro is 23 and he is a student in Porto. Together with other students living in town, he’s pursuing his studies and helping the local community along the way.

Yesterday Hugo turned 6, but he couldn’t celebrate his birthday with his parents. Mum & Dad are medical staff at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid, frontline battlefield of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Jean-Christophe created the digital platform "onvoussoutient.fr" because he was looking for a way to help others while, like everyone else, being confined for two weeks in France.

COVID-19, solidarity, Malta - Photo Credit: Lovin Malta

The food sector in Malta has been incredibly generous in these trying times. Amongst others, restaurants that shut down during this period, prepared meals for Health Carers at Mater Dei Hospital before closing their doors.

Augustijn was doing his internship in neurosurgery in Maria Middelares Hospital in Ghent at the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Fighting disinformation on the coronavirus

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In line with the previous EEAS Special Reports and based on publicly available information, this edition gives an overview of recent developments around COVID-19 related disinformation.

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As outlined in the earlier reports, disinformation, myths and misinformation continue to proliferate around the world, with potentially harmful consequences for public security, health and effective crisis communications. In this context, it is important to distinguish the very different forms of mis- and disinformation, as well as other forms of information manipulation.

Misinformation and disinformation in the health space are thriving, including on COVID-19. It is important that you rely only on authoritative sources to get updated information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

covid-19

Disinformation and misinformation around COVID-19 continue to proliferate around the world, with potentially harmful consequences for public health and effective crisis communication. In the EU and elsewhere, coordinated disinformation messaging seeks to frame vulnerable minorities as the cause of the pandemic and to fuel distrust in the ability of democratic institutions to deliver effective responses. Some state and state-backed actors seek to exploit the public health crisis to advance geopolitical interests, often by directly challenging the credibility of the European Union and its partners.

Press releases

The Council today adopted a decision to provide up to 3 billion euros of macro-financial assistance to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today the European Commission announced an additional €50 million in humanitarian aid to help respond to the dramatic increase in humanitarian needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic globally. The new funding follows increased appeals by humanitarian organisations, including the UN Global Appeal.

“The coronavirus pandemic is impacting every country and region of the world and every aspect of our lives. The pandemic and its socio-economic consequences are having a disproportionate impact on the rights of persons with disabilities such as in terms of equal access to health care, support services, and education.

Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey[1] met for their annual economic policy dialogue[2]. The dialogue aims at preparing the Western Balkans and Turkey for the future participation in the European Semester.

As part of its emergency support package to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU is setting up a temporary instrument to help workers keep their jobs during the crisis.
EU ambassadors today reached a political agreement on SURE, a temporary scheme which can provide up to €100 billion of loans under favourable terms to member states.

A contact tracing and warning app is voluntarily installed and used to warn users if they have been in proximity for a certain duration to a person who reported to have been tested positive of COVID-19.

The EU is reflecting on key lessons and implications that the COVID-19 pandemic presents for its security and defence. The aim is to be ready to confront possible security consequences of the current pandemic and to become better prepared and resilient for the future.

The European Commission has published detailed guidance on how coronavirus-related humanitarian aid can be sent to countries and areas around the world that are subject to EU sanctions.

The European Commission has set up an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the coronavirus response to some of most critical areas around the world.

EU ambassadors today endorsed a Commission proposal to provide up to 3 billion euros of macro-financial assistance to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic impacts every country and region of the world and every aspect of our lives. It has reminded us how interconnected we are. Nobody will be safe in any country as long as the pandemic rages in different parts of the world. Respect for all human rights must remain at the heart of fighting the pandemic and supporting the global recovery.

I am very proud and I am relieved that the start of this very important project was so successful. The world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. And Europe has made a significant contribution. We got EUR 7.4 billion today and – the exchange rate is friendly to us – it is more than USD 8 billion. Of these USD 8 billion, ‘team Europe' – that is the European Union and its Member States – contributed more than EUR 4 billion.

On 4 May, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell held a phone call with the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov, to discuss the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s support to Uzbekistan in respect of this challenge, the EU-Uzbekistan bilateral agenda, and broader regional issues relating to Central Asia.

Following last week's delivery to Italy, more batches of FFP2 protective masks are being distributed this weekend to Spain, Italy and Croatia from rescEU - the first ever common European reserve of medical equipment set up last month to help countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

On World Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the essential role of journalism in upholding online and offline freedom of expression in democratic societies and fostering transparency and accountability. The COVID-19 crisis has brought the importance of the work of the press into sharp relief. In times of uncertainty, more than ever, access to reliable fact-checked information, that is free from undue interference and influence, is crucial and contributes to a more resilient society. It is a matter of concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used in some countries as a pretext for imposing undue restrictions on freedom of the press.

The Council today adopted conclusions stating the EU's determination to stand by the people of South Sudan in their quest for peace and prosperity, and in facing the consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which risks having far-reaching humanitarian and economic consequences on the newfound stability of the country.

Today, the European Commission is proposing €279 million in financial support for Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria, to provide relief to the population of several regions in these four countries hit by natural disasters in 2019. This funding comes on top of the €800 million for 2020 available under the EU Solidarity Fund.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, the European Union and its Member States have observed cyber threats and malicious cyber activities targeting essential operators in Member States and their international partners, including in the healthcare sector. Since the beginning of the pandemic, significant phishing and malware distribution campaigns, scanning activities and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been detected, some affecting critical infrastructures that are essential to managing this crisis.

On International Workers Day on 1 May, the EU’s Myan Ku Emergency Cash Fund transfers the first payments to garment workers who have been suspended or terminated due to the impact the COVID-19 crisis has on Myanmar’s garment sector.

The European Commission received its first preliminary application for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund from Italy to address the coronavirus outbreak and its effects. Italy is expected to submit further details in the weeks to come.

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting us all. Countries around the world are struggling with its effects and experiencing an unprecedented negative economic fallout. Lebanon is no exception: the country is coping with the COVID-19 crisis with limited resources and against the backdrop of a preceding financial and economic crisis.

Immunization saves millions of lives every year. This year, the World Immunization Week takes on greater significance than ever since the Covid-19 outbreak reveals what is at stake when communities do not have the protective shield of immunization against an infectious disease.  The global pandemic is a stark reminder of how fast an outbreak can spread without a vaccine to protect people and communities. 

As part of its plan to support partner countries around the globe, the European Union (EU) is mobilising €350 million to fight against the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the ASEAN region.

EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca delivered today samples of COVID-19 testing control material to the Institute of Public Health of Albania, the country’s Covid-19 testing authority. The donation is part of the broader EU assistance to Albania to fight COVID-19. The newly-designed control material is being used by laboratories in the EU to check the correct functioning of the coronavirus tests.

The European Union is joining forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort – the Coronavirus Global Response – starting on 4 May 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) and global health organisations have launched a joint call for action to develop fast and equitable access to safe, quality, effective and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines against coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic affects practically every country in the world. Past experiences have shown that even with the availability of effective tools at the world's disposal, some are protected, while others are not. This inequity is unacceptable – all tools to address the pandemic must be available to all.

I am proud of sharing the screen today with our partners worldwide, to deliver a message of hope. Hope that we can defeat coronavirus together. And that we can go back to our normal lives, sooner rather than later.

The European Union, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and World Vision are providing Education, Sanitary, and Food packages to the most vulnerable children and their families affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) impact in Ulaanbaatar and Selenge.

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The Council today adopted new rules intended to minimise the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the most deprived EU citizens. The amendments to the regulation on the fund for aid to the most deprived (FEAD) will make it easier for member states, partner organisations and other parties involved to access the fund and protect their staff involved in distributing the aid. Around 13 million EU citizens benefit from the fund each year. The new rules are expected to enter into force by the end of the week.

The European Commission welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the proposal to postpone by one year the date of application of the Medical Devices Regulation. This will allow all key players - Member States, health institutions and economic operators to give priority to the fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, forming a key position in the timing of the lifting of confinement measures as Member States return to the road of recovery.

Thank you very much Charles,
I can seamlessly follow up on your words. The health situation is by far not fully under control and many Member States have not yet reached the peak. At the same time, we already know that the scale, the speed and the impact of the economic crisis is unprecedented in modern times.

I would first like to thank all our health workers, doctors and researchers who are working around the clock to save lives. I would also like to offer words of support to those who are ill and are fighting the virus as we speak. This pandemic is putting our societies under serious strain. The well-being of each EU member state depends on the well-being of the whole of the EU.

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Good evening. Although the coronavirus and its implications are still high on our agenda, today’s discussion is already an indication that we are gradually returning to core foreign policy issues.

We started with brief exchanges on the current affairs regarding Libya, Turkey and Afghanistan.

On Libya, it is sad to say that the situation does not improve. Neither international appeals, nor the threat of the spread of coronavirus, have managed to stop the warring parties from fighting. The fighting continues and is even increasing.

On 21, April, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell held a phone call with the Foreign Minister of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, to discuss the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s support to Belarus in light of this challenge, and the wider EU-Belarus agenda.

On 21 April, High Representative Josep Borrell had a phone call with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.

The Commission has adopted a proposal for a €3 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) package to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal comes on top of the ‘Team Europe' strategy, the EU's robust and targeted response to support partner countries' efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. It represents an important demonstration of the EU's solidarity with these countries at a time of unprecedented crisis.

On Tuesday 21 April, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell held a phone call with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba. The call took place one day ahead of the meeting with EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, where Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership are on the agenda. 

The EU is taking further urgent measures to make the best use of cohesion policy money to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Council today adopted a second legislative act in less than a month amending the rules on the use of EU structural funds, which underpin EU cohesion policy. These changes allow member states to refocus resources on crisis-related operations.

Annual report on acute food security and nutrition published today
JOINT EU / FAO / OCHA / UNICEF / USAID / WFP NEWS RELEASE
Today an international alliance of UN, governmental, and nongovernmental agencies working to address the root causes of extreme hunger have released a new edition of their annual Global Report on Food Crises.

Brussels, 20/04/2020

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Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the implications of this pandemic in EU foreign affairs and for your strong support to a joint EU response to this global crisis. Because it is really a global crisis which is affecting all geopolitical aspects.

t is crucial that banks continue financing households and corporates, including SMEs experiencing temporary difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, making full use of the flexibility provided for in the prudential and accounting framework, is essential at a time when sufficient financing to cover financial pressures is vital for the economy.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell spoke by phone to Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus on Thursday. High Representative Borrell relayed the EU’s strong support to the WHO at this critical moment and reiterated the need to continue working together through the multilateral system to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

There are no words that can do justice to Europe's pain or to all those suffering across the world.
We think and we pray for all of the families in mourning. And we promise to each other that we will tell their stories and honour their lives and their legacies.

On 16 April, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, held a phone call with the Foreign Minister of New Zealand, Winston Peters. They addressed the state of play in combatting the coronavirus pandemic and reviewed the partnership between the EU and New Zealand.

As the conflict in eastern Ukraine enters seventh year, the European Commission announces today €13 million to support the most vulnerable people affected by the ongoing hostilities. At the same time, EU funded humanitarian projects will also help address the coronavirus outbreak.

The outbreak and rapid spread of Covid-19 have stretched global public health systems beyond their limits and caused widespread economic, social and humanitarian damage. This virus knows no borders. Tackling it therefore requires strong international leadership, guided by a sense of shared responsibility and solidarity. In fact, only a global victory that fully includes Africa can bring this pandemic to an end.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell held phone calls with António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, on 14 April, and with Filippo Grandi, United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees, and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, on 15 April 2020.

The EU is taking steps to protect key features of the multilateral trading system.
The Council today gave the go-ahead to the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement (MPIA), a new system that will allow the EU, together with other participating WTO members, to overcome the current paralysis of the WTO’s Appellate Body and solve trade disputes amongst themselves.

Today, the Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council, has put forward a European roadmap to phase-out the containment measures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

High Representative Josep Borrell tasked the European External Action Service to set up a dedicated task force to temporarily support and facilitate information exchange on national military assistance in support of civilian authorities to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. This is a concrete follow-up of the video conference of Defence Ministers of the EU member States on 6 April.

Building on our strategic partnership, shared values and commitment to multilateralism, Canada and the European Union (EU) are working intensively together to address the significant consular, public health and economic challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

The EU is making available almost all the remaining money from this year's budget to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

L'Union européenne a présenté le 8 avril à Bruxelles son plan de riposte globale et d’aide aux pays partenaires face au COVID-19. L'action extérieure de l’UE vise à répondre aux dimensions multiples de la crise, sur le plan sanitaire et humanitaire, notamment par le renforcement des systèmes de santé et d'approvisionnement en eau et assainissement, ainsi que sur le plan socio-économique pour atténuer l’impact sur l’économie et sur les populations.

The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge with very severe socio-economic consequences. We are committed to do everything necessary to meet this challenge in a spirit of solidarity.

Today, the European Union is launching its “Team Europe” package to support partner countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. The objective of the “Team Europe” approach is to combine resources from the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

EU ambassadors today agreed amendments to the regulation on the fund for aid to the most deprived (FEAD). These amendments are intended to minimise the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the most deprived. They will make it easier for member states, partner organisations and other parties involved to access the fund and protect their staff involved in distributing the aid. Around 13 million EU citizens benefit from the fund each year.

The EU is taking further measures to enable cohesion policy money to be focused on tackling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
EU ambassadors today agreed the Council’s position on a second package of measures in less than a month aimed at freeing up more money from EU structural funds for crisis-related operations. Given the unprecedented challenges facing member states, the proposed changes were endorsed without amendment in order to speed up the legislative process.