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Coronavirus: EU funding for the transport of essential goods, medical teams and patients

© European Union, 2020

European Union countries can now apply for additional funding via the Emergency Support Instrument worth €220 million to transport essential goods, medical teams and patients affected by the coronavirus. This comes in addition to support already available via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and deliveries shipped previously via rescEU.

Today, a pilot operation has successfully delivered over 7 tonnes of personal protective equipment to Bulgaria. The cargo includes over 500,000 protective masks, purchased by Bulgaria with transport costs covered by the EU. 

“The Emergency Support Instrument helps gets vital health equipment to where it is needed, and supports Member States in the transport of medical personnel or in welcoming patients from other Member States demonstrating European solidarity. After the successful shipment to Bulgaria of protective equipment,more operations will follow in the next weeks”, said Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič

Emergency Support Instrument to transport goods, equipment and patients 

€220 million have been made available to support:

  • The transport of medical items to where they are most needed, by financing the cargo transport of assistance and relief items to EU Member States
  • The transfer of patients between EU Member States or from Member States to neighbouring countries, where health services risk being overwhelmed ensuring treatment for as many people as possible
  • The transport of medical personnel and mobile medical teams to move between EU Member States and into the EU from other neighbouring countries, to help people wherever medical assistance is needed most

The European Commission presented to Member States on 17 June the procedures and criteria to apply for funding under the Mobility Package. Member States can now submit their applications to the European Commission. 

What makes the Emergency Support Instrument different from other support measures?

The ESI is designed to be an agile instrument, with the flexibility needed to respond to the evolving needs as the EU moves from the immediate response phase to the pandemic to the managed exit, recovery and prevention phases. It targets actions where shared efforts at EU level can deliver the most impact in support of the Joint European Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures. 

The ESI is a complementary instrument: it intervenes on top of the efforts made under other EU instruments such as rescEU, the Joint Procurement Procedures and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, as well as Member States’ national efforts.


The support is part of the wider Emergency Support Instrument activated on 16 April 2020 and designed to strengthen EU Member States’ efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Emergency Support Instrument budget is €2.7 billion. It has been designed to respond to needs in a strategic, coordinated manner at European level. As a financing arm of the ‘Joint European Roadmap towards lifting coronavirus containment measures’, it helps mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic and anticipate needs related to the exit and recovery.

The Emergency Support Instrument builds on the principle of solidarity and pools efforts and resources to quickly address shared strategic needs. It is an important European support measure for the existing national and European response measures to tackle the ongoing exceptional public health crisis. 

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