Thank you Ryan (Ryan Heath moderator)
Minister, Excellencies, Colleagues,
In the context of UN General Assembly Special Session in response of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have the pleasure to welcome you to this side even dedicated to the Team Europe Global Response to the crisis. I would like to welcome in particular Ms. Antje Leendertse, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Mr Félix Fernandez Shaw, Director for International Cooperation and Development Policy at the European Commission, as well as my colleagues from Kenya, El Salvador, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN and the World Health Organization.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life for everyone around the world. It has been first a global health crisis, but it is also a multidimensional crisis with social, economic, humanitarian, security and political dimensions and consequences.
Europe had to act quickly and effectively: the European Union and its Member States, together with the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, have joined forces and acted as ‘Team Europe’. The amounts which we have managed to mobilise in a couple of months are considerable: under the Team Europe umbrella, we have a combined financial package of more than EUR 39 billion Euro (approximately 47 billion USD).
To do what? To do this: supporting partners in overcoming urgent health needs, and mitigating the multiple humanitarian, social and economic impacts of the pandemic, while upholding human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law. We have been delivering a range of programmes prepared and implemented in cooperation with partner countries. In the course of today’s event, we will show and mention some of these.
Simultaneously, in a Team Europe spirit, the EU and its Member States have been working hard in multilateral instances, in the United Nations in New York in particular, for a fair and equitable global access to safe, affordable and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics against COVID-19. We have been defending the “Build Back Better” vision of resilient health systems, and of a sustainable and fair recovery. In addition, in this regard we have to be quick and effective and align our perspectives and positions. In this respect, the Team Europe concept has also appeared crucial at multilateral level.
Without further ado, let me wish that this session answers the questions you may have on Team Europe in an interesting, interactive and inspiring way. And let me hand over to my colleague Christoph Heusgen, Ambassador of Germany to the United Nations.