European solidarity

During these times of crisis, countries, regions and cities across the European Union are stretching out a helping hand to fellow EU citizens. Assistance is being given to those most in need through 

  • donations of protective equipment such as masks
  • medical teams
  • cross-border treatments of ill patients
  • bringing stranded EU citizens home

This is European solidarity at its best.

The European Commission, through its Emergency Response Coordination Centre, provides assistance upon request, such as

  • coordinating and co-financing the delivery of personal protective equipment and other assistance
  • repatriation flights to bring back stranded citizens from outside Europe
  • the transport of medical teams from one country to another

EU Civil Protection Mechanism

Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the European Union is helping coordinate and finance the delivery of medical equipment and related items (protective facemasks, gowns, gloves, goggles, overalls and disinfectant and other products) across Europe and the world, to countries that have sought assistance.

The European Commission coordinated and co-financed deliveries of over 15 million items of medical supplies to almost 30 countries in Europe and worldwide, via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition to its coordinating role, the EU finances 75% of the transport costs of the dispatched assistance. 
For example:

July 2021
  • Following requests from Albania and North Macedonia, the EU supported Greece in delivering 200,000 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 to the two countries.
June 2021 
  • Following a request from Kosovo, the EU supported Norway in delivering over 180,000 vaccine doses to Pristina.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has coordinated and co-financed the delivery of 140,000 masks and other personal protective items, as well as disinfectants, oxygen generators and antigen tests to Kosovo from Slovenia, the Czech Republic and France.
March 2021
  • Following a request from Moldova, the EU supported Romania in delivering 50,400 doses of vaccines to Moldova in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
February 2021
  • Following a request for assistance from Moldova, Romania sent 1.5 million surgical masks, 100,000 FFP3 masks, 100,000 protective suits and 100,000 gloves. Following a request by Slovakia, Romania dispatched a medical team specialised in intensive care to Bratislava.
  • A consignment of 21,600 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 was delivered to Moldova from Romania, to support the country’s response to the pandemic.
January 2021
  • Following a request for assistance from North Macedonia and Mongolia, the Czech Republic and France sent personal protective equipment to help with the coronavirus containment efforts. 126,000 masks and 5,000 overalls were sent by the Czech Republic to North Macedonia, and 400 oxygen masks, 200 nasal cannulas, generators and other items were provided by France to Mongolia.
December 2020
  • Following an additional request for assistance, Ukraine received a shipment of 50 ventilators sent by Denmark. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism also coordinated and co-financed the delivery of disinfectants and personal protective equipment from Estonia and Denmark to Georgia. Moldova also received gloves, blankets and disinfectant from Austria and Poland, also via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, while Albania received gloves and disinfectant from Austria as well.
October and November 2020
August 2020
  • At the beginning of August 2020, an Italian emergency medical team was deployed to Azerbaijan, while emergency medical teams from Italy, Germany and Lithuania were deployed to Armenia between June and July.
April 2020
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COVAX: global vaccination

A sustainable path out of the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU depends on progress at the global level. No country or region in the world will be safe from COVID-19 unless it is contained globally.

The EU and its Member States are leading investment in the global COVAX Facility and are establishing a coordinated European approach to vaccine sharing by setting up an EU Vaccine Sharing Mechanism to help partner countries overcome the pandemic.

The European approach to vaccine sharing will help neighbouring and partner countries overcome the pandemic. It comes on top of the €2.2 billion EU investment from Team Europe (Commission, Member States and European Investment Bank) in COVAX.

A map of vaccines delivered so far is available.

On 19 February 2021, the European Union, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, launched a new regional project worth over €7 million to support the safe and effective vaccination of the population of the Western Balkans. 

rescEU – a common reserve of medical equipment

Map of medical stockpile for COVID-19 related items in the EU.

On 19 March 2020, the European Commission created a strategic rescEU capacity – a common European reserve – of emergency medical equipment, such as ventilators, protective masks, gloves and laboratory supplies to help EU countries face the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission finances 100% of the capacity (including the procurement, maintenance and the delivery costs), which is hosted by several Member States and is constantly replenished.

Germany and Romania were the first Member States to host the rescEU reserve, followed by Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Sweden in September. In January 2021, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia became new host countries for rescEU medical supplies, while a second medical supply will be hosted by Germany.

The rescEU stockpile supplies now include

  • over 65 million medical masks and 15 million FFP2 and FFP3 masks
  • over 280 million pairs of medical gloves
  • almost 20 million medical gowns and aprons
  • several thousand oxygen concentrators and ventilators

The hosting States are responsible for procuring the equipment with the support of the Commission. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre manages the distribution of the equipment to ensure it goes where it is most needed.

Over 1.3 million FFP2 and FFP3 protective facemasks from the rescEU medical reserve were delivered to Italy (142,000), Spain (173,000), Croatia (65,000), Lithuania (20,000), Montenegro (140,000) and North Macedonia (255,000) and Serbia (510,000).

Serbia also received 270,000 pairs of gloves, 48,000 protective overalls with foot protection, and 5,500 goggles. Additionally, 600,000 FFP2 masks and 650,000 pairs of gloves were delivered to Serbia in February 2021 from the rescEU medical equipment reserve hosted in Greece.

Additionally, protective gowns and overalls were also distributed to Montenegro (30,000 gowns) and North Macedonia (70,000 gowns and 140,000 overalls). On 22 October 2020, the first batch of 30 rescEU ventilators was delivered to the Czech Republic, followed by another 120 ventilators from Austria and the Netherlands, as well as 30 high-flow oxygen therapy devices delivered on 24 October 2020.

On 10 February 2021, additional medical supplies were dispatched from the rescEU medical equipment stockpile hosted in Greece: Montenegro and North Macedonia received gloves, masks, protective overalls, as well as 15,000 PCR test kits each, beds, blankets and towels from Slovakia. Germany sent hand and surface disinfectant to Serbia, and Czechia provided masks, gloves and ventilators to Moldova.

The rescEU reserve is constantly replenished and deliveries take place regularly, based on the needs of the participating countries.

Assistance within the EU

  • EU Solidarity in action

    EU Solidarity in action

    EU countries, regions and cities are stretching out a helping hand to neighbours, helping those most in need.

  • Emergency support

    Emergency support

    The Emergency Support Instrument helps EU countries in their efforts to address the coronavirus pandemic.


Assistance outside the EU

Team Europe continues delivering assistance to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Team Europe combines resources from the European Union, its Member States and the European financial institutions. By 1 January 2021, Team Europe had already allocated over €26 billion to over 130 partner countries around the world:

  • €3.2 billion were spent on addressing humanitarian needs.
  • €3.5 billion were spent on strengthening health, water and sanitation systems.
  • €19.5 billion were spent on mitigating the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic.

At the Global Health Summit in Rome, on 21 May 2021, President von der Leyen announced that ‘Team Europe' would share with low and middle-income countries at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021, mainly via COVAX. Team Europe (the EU, its institutions and all 27 Member States) is on track to exceed this initial goal, with 200 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 foreseen to be shared with the countries that need them most, by the end of 2021.


Helping stranded citizens to get home

The Commission has helped Member States to coordinate assistance and consular repatriation operations of EU citizens from across the world.

Bringing EU citizens home