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. The EU will support actions at country and regional level to address the immediate health crisis, strengthen health systems, as well as alleviate the economic and social consequences.
EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans said: “In difficult times, ASEAN can count on the European Union. The EU and ASEAN are regional organisations bound by 42 years of solidarity and partnership. By mobilising €350 million in support of ASEAN countries, the EU is demonstrating its friendship with the people of the region. We will support ASEAN’s strong, concrete measures to address the health, social and economic impact on the region. We can only overcome the coronavirus pandemic through international cooperation, solidarity and coordination.”
The EU is working with ASEAN to address the multifaceted coronavirus crisis. The first virtual EU-ASEAN Meeting on the pandemic, held on 20 March 2020, Foreign Ministers agreed to deepen cooperation, exchange experience, keep supply chains open and advance scientific research.
In the meantime, the EU has adjusted some of its existing cooperation programmes to better focus on and respond to the pandemic. The EU also decided to open 18 new EU-funded research and innovation projects (€48.5 million) on coronavirus for cooperation with ASEAN scientific organisations.
To support partner countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, the EU – in a combined “Team Europe” effort – committed more than €20 billion.
Some examples on how the EU is working with partners to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in ASEAN:
In Myanmar, the EU will support female garment workers who have been laid off work with €5 million to ensure livelihoods and prepare for recovery;
In Indonesia, the EU has allocated €6 million to support European and Indonesian NGOs working on public health and hygiene measures, psycho-social counselling for vulnerable groups, distribution of health kits to vulnerable communities and assistance to community health workers;
In Malaysia, the EU will support the delivery of food, water or basic health care to vulnerable and marginalised communities.
In Thailand, the EU and Oxfam developed and distributed 1,000 posters in Thai and Yawi languages to 400 vulnerable, rural communities on preventative measures to combat the spread of the virus.
In Laos, the EU is working with UNICEF to support the procurement of medical equipment and supplies, which will strengthen the healthcare system and mitigate the effects of a major outbreak.
In Cambodia, the EU is enhancing social protection support to the most vulnerable groups, including the unemployed, as well as boosting investment programmes in rural and urban areas to create jobs and livelihood opportunities.
See attached factsheet