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The European Commission continues to tackle the pandemic through domestic, pan-European and international means.
EDC News: EU’s fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19)
COVID-19 is a transmittable disease brought on by a recently discovered coronavirus. Since its discovery, over 4 million people were diagnosed worldwide, of which 1.7 million were located in Europe (WHO figures). The COVID-19 pandemic drastically impacted people's daily lives and strained healthcare systems, economies and employment worldwide. Member States, in hope to contain the spread of the virus, temporarily imposed social distancing measures, curbed or stopped cross-border travel and initiated lockdowns, which forced many businesses to temporarily close. Confrontation of the consequences and challenges of the pandemic required a united and coordinated approach of all Member States. Pursuing this coordinated approach, the European Commission undertook various actions:
- Economy – A wide-ranging economic response was implemented, which took advantage of the flexibility offered by the EU’s fiscal framework and State Aid rules, as well as, establishing an investment initiative that directed €37bn to small businesses and the healthcare sector.
- Public Health – Member States’ healthcare systems were assisted through increased provision and production of medical equipment, testing, and crisis coordination based on the advice of a newly established panel of experts.
- Travel & Transportation – Pan-European coordination on the restriction of international non-essential movement. Publication of EC guidelines for the safe movement of goods and services, and essential workers.
- Crisis management & solidarity – Coordination for the provision of personal protective equipment, repatriation flights for EU and non-EU citizens (updated figures). Implementation of the Emergency Support Instrument as an efficient tool to react to any potential emergency needs during the critical phase of the pandemic and assist in the exit and recovery phase from the containment measures.
- Research & innovation – Funding for research projects focused on vaccines, socio-economic and behavioural issues, diagnostics, equipment and treatment. The EC has also intensified its international collaborations for more effective scientific knowledge sharing.
- Digital – Application of digital technologies to track and understand the spread of the virus, conduct research with the assistance of high-performance computing, and stronger online connectivity and security.
- Fighting disinformation – EC webpage with important facts, reliable sources of information and advice on online scams relating to COVID-19.
On 13 May 2020, EC President, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke to the European Parliament about the recovery plan from the pandemic. The plan consists of three pillars which will focus on a recovery that complements the EC’s priorities such as the Green Deal and Digital Strategy. A Recovery and Resilience (Pillar 1) funding tool which consists important public investments and reforms. Boosting private investments (Pillar 2) focuses on digital and climate-neutral technologies through strengthening InvestEU and creating a Strategic Investment Facility. The third pillar seeks to understand the weaknesses and strengths of EU programmes during the pandemic, and build on those strengths, such as RescEU and Horizon Europe and create a Health Programme to deal with the weaknesses of the EU during the crisis. Although the EU itself cannot deal with all the challenges faced, a united recovery approach can distribute the burden evenly to Member States, therefore, accelerating the recovery and strengthening resilience.
- Legal Documents
- Financial assistance to Member States and countries, negotiating their accession to the Union, seriously affected by a major public health emergency (COM/2020/114 final), EUR-Lex
- Temporary pandemic emergency purchase programme (ECB/2020/17), EUR-Lex
- Protection of livelihoods and lives through emergency funds (COM/2020/143 final), EUR-Lex
- A European roadmap to lifting coronavirus containment measures, European Commission
- International cooperation relating to COVID-19, European Commission
- Coordinated response to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19, European Commission
- European Council decisions covering workers’ support, provision of medical equipment, research for vaccine and support for the economy relating to COVID-19, European Council
- Latest actions taken by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and RescEU to protect migrants, refugees, public health of Member States, provision of medical and protective equipment, economic assistance and helping neighbouring EU countries, ECHO
- EU Civil Protection Mechanism – Strengthening cooperation between Member States to improve the prevention, preparedness and response to disasters ECHO
- Brief outline of actions from various EU institutions and agencies, European Union
- News & Updates