Protective equipment

27 April 2021 - EU channels critical support to India via EU Civil Protection Mechanism

A shipment of urgently needed oxygen, medicine and equipment will be delivered over the coming days by EU Member States to India, following the country's request for support. Ireland offered 700 oxygen concentrators; 1 oxygen generator; 365 ventilators; Belgium offered 9,000 doses of antiviral medicines Remdesivir; Romania offered 80 oxygen concentrators and 75 oxygen cylinders; Luxembourg offered 58 ventilators; Portugal offered 5,503 vials of Remdesivir and 20,000 litres of oxygen per week, and Sweden offered 120 ventilators. More EU support from other Member States is expected to be given in the coming days, including from France and Germany.

Berlaymont

16 April 2021 - €562.5 million in REACT-EU investment funding allocated to Bulgaria, Finland, France and Lithuania

REACT-EU investments of around €562.5 million in Bulgaria, Finland, France and Lithuania will extend the crisis response through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. REACT-EU, part of NextGenerationEU, provides an overall additional €47.5 billion in support to Cohesion policy programmes in 2021 and 2022, focusing on supporting jobs, businesses, and the green and digital transitions. The investment was earmarked to support long-term infrastructural adaptations and strengthen business resilience in Bulgaria, develop research and innovation in Finland, provide working capital in France and expand e-business models, and enhance research investments and the development of new products in Lithuania to address the pandemic.

President von der Leyen

14 April 2021 - 100 million vaccinations against COVID-19 in the EU

President von der Leyen said: “Vaccination is picking up speed across Europe! Member States have received over 126 million doses of vaccines as of yesterday. And I am happy to say that today we have reached 100 million vaccinations in the EU. This is a milestone that we can be proud of.”

Picture of the Berlaymont facade

14 April 2021 – The European Commission gets ready to raise up to €800 billion under NextGenerationEU to fund the recovery

The Commission has taken steps to ensure that borrowing under the temporary recovery instrument NextGenerationEU will be financed on the most advantageous terms for EU countries and their citizens. The Commission will use a diversified funding strategy to raise up to around €800 billion in current prices until 2026.

Humanitarian aid workers in a warehouse

8 April 2021 - Team Europe continues to support partner countries with more than €26 billion disbursed in one year

By 1 January 2021, Team Europe had already supported over 130 partner countries around the world with over €26 billion. €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. Team Europe is also working to ensure global, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and supporting the rollout of vaccination campaigns, while exploring possibilities for boosting local manufacturing capacity. The EU played a leading role in setting up the COVAX Facility, where Team Europe is one of its leading donors, with over €2.2 billion.

7 April 2021 - Global Health Summit: Stay up to date via the new website

The European Commission has published a new website with key information about the upcoming Global Health Summit. The Summit, hosted by the European Commission and the Italian Presidency of the G20, will take place on 21 May 2021 in Rome. It will be an opportunity for G20 and invited leaders, heads of international and regional organisations, and representatives of global health bodies, to share lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image of the Berlaymont banner "Next Generation EU"

6 April 2021 – First REACT-EU support measures for recovery and transition approved for the Netherlands and Austria

The Commission approved the first decisions under REACT-EU involving modifications of four operational programmes for the European Regional Development Fund in the Netherlands and Austria that will increase the funding available for investments by nearly €262 million from REACT-EU. The Netherlands and Austria thus became the first EU countries to benefit from REACT-EU. These resources – part of NextGenerationEU – continue and extend the crisis response and repair measures delivered through the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives, acting as a bridge to the long-term recovery plan.

worker in a shop

30 March 2021 – The European Commission disburses further €13 billion under SURE to 6 Member States to protect workers and jobs

The European Commission has disbursed €13 billion to six EU Member States in the sixth instalment of financial support under the SURE instrument to protect jobs and workers. This is the third disbursement in 2021. As part of today's operations, Czechia has received €1 billion, Belgium €2.2 billion, Spain €4.06 billion, Ireland €2.47 billion, Italy €1.87 billion and Poland €1.4 billion. This is the first time that Ireland has received funding under the instrument. The other five EU countries have already benefitted from loans under SURE. So far, 17 EU Member States have received a total of €75.5 billion under the SURE instrument in back-to-back loans. An overview of the amounts disbursed up to date and the different maturities of the bonds is available.

A nurse

26 March 2021 – €5.1 billion EU4Health enters into force

The Commission welcomed the EU4Health programme entering into force. EU4Health will make a significant contribution to the post-COVID-19 recovery by making the EU population healthier, supporting the fight against cross-border health threats and boosting the EU's preparedness and capability to respond effectively to future health crisis, as part of a future strong European Health Union. The EU4Health Programme is an ambitious and dedicated funding programme for 2021-2027 to ensure a high level of human health protection in all Union policies and activities. EU4Health is the largest EU health programme ever in monetary terms and will provide funding to EU countries, health organisations and NGOs.

Lot of vaccines doses

24 March 2021 - Commission strengthens transparency and authorisation mechanism for exports of vaccines against COVID-19

The Commission has introduced additional principles for consideration before authorising exports of vaccines: reciprocity and proportionality. This means that Member States should consider if the destination country has export restrictions in place and the conditions prevailing in the destination country such as the epidemiological situation, vaccination rates and existing vaccine stocks. President von der Leyen said: “The EU is proud to be the home of vaccine producers who export across the globe, because we are convinced that we will only be safe when everyone is safe. But the EU is the only major OECD producer that continues to export vaccines, including to countries that have production capacities of their own but have found ways to restrict exports. Moreover, exports are going to countries whose epidemiological situation is less serious than the EU’s and that are further advanced in the vaccination of their citizens. This is why we need to introduce reciprocity and proportionality into the EU’s authorisation mechanism.”

A man supervising a young employer

22 March 2021 – Report confirms SURE's success in protecting jobs

The Commission published its first preliminary assessment of SURE, the €100 billion instrument dedicated to protecting jobs and economies from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commission's report has found that the instrument supported between 25 and 30 million people in 2020. It also estimates that between 1.5 and 2.5 million firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have benefitted from SURE, allowing them to retain workers. The Commission has so far proposed a total of €90.6 billion in financial support to 19 Member States.

A girl waiting in line at the airport

17 March 2021 – European Commission proposes a Digital Green Certificate with information about vaccination, tests and recovery

The Commission proposes to establish an EU-wide framework on a Digital Green Certificate for the issuance, verification and acceptance of vaccination, testing and recovery certificates. To prevent the discrimination of individuals who are not vaccinated, the possession of a vaccination certificate will not be a pre-condition to exercise free movement rights and cannot be used as a pre-condition to use cross-border passenger transport services such as airlines, trains, coaches or ferries. The proposal aims to facilitate the exercise of the right to free movement within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing secure and interoperable certificates.

Two people talking

16 March 2021 - Commission disburses further €9 billion under SURE to 7 EU Member States

The Commission disbursed €9 billion to 7 EU Member States in a fifth instalment under the SURE instrument. The disbursement, the second instalment in 2021, covers the Czech Republic (€1 billion) as well as Spain (€2.87 billion), Croatia (€510 million), Italy (€3.87 billion), Lithuania (€302 million), Malta (€123 million) and Slovakia (€330 million These loans will assist Member States in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment. So far, 16 Member States have received a total of €62.5 billion under the SURE instrument in back-to-back loans. Throughout 2021, the Commission will seek to raise in addition over €25 billion through the issuance of EU SURE bonds.

vaccine vials

11 March 2021 - European Commission authorises fourth safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

The Commission has granted a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Johnson & Johnson, making it the fourth vaccine authorised in the EU. This authorisation follows a positive scientific recommendation based on a thorough assessment of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency and is endorsed by the Member States. President von der Leyen said: “The Janssen vaccine is the fourth authorised vaccine of the EU's portfolio and will help us enhance the vaccination campaign in the second quarter of 2021. It only requires a single dose, which takes us another step closer to achieving our collective goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by the end of summer."

A nurse

11 March 2021 – The European Commission proposes to use €530 million under the EU Solidarity fund to fight the coronavirus pandemic

The European Commission is putting forward a package of almost €530 million in financial support under the EU Solidarity Fund to support public expenditure on medical and personal protective equipment, emergency support to the population, and measures to prevent, monitor and control of the spread of the disease. The proposal will contribute to the efforts deployed by 17 Member States and 3 accession countries once approved by the European Parliament and the Council. The aid package also includes the €132.7 million of advance payments already received by Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal.

Cargo freight on palettes branded with EU flag being loaded onto an airplane.

10 March 2021 – New action for EU's global aid delivery challenged by COVID-19

The Commission presented a Communication on humanitarian action, setting out how the EU can step up and meet humanitarian challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Communication proposes key actions to speed up the provision of humanitarian aid, to support an enabling environment for humanitarian partners, and to address the root causes of crises through a ‘Team Europe’ approach. The Communication also highlights a renewed focus on international humanitarian law and also sets out to tackle the dramatic humanitarian impact of climate change.

Two men working in a factory.

4 March 2021 – Ensuring a job-rich recovery: Action plan on the European of Social Rights sets out effective support to employment

As part of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission presented a Recommendation for Member States to ease the transition from crisis-job-support to creating future-proof jobs: Effective Active Support to Employment (EASE). The Recommendation promotes job creation and job-to-job transitions from declining sectors towards expanding ones, notably in the green and digital fields. The new measures outline three key elements which Member States should include in their recovery and resilience plans: hiring incentives and entrepreneurial support; upskilling and reskilling opportunities; enhanced support by employment services.

Picture of the press conference

3 March 2021 – One year since the outbreak of COVID-19: updated fiscal policy response

The Commission has adopted a Communication providing Member States with broad guidance on the conduct of fiscal policy in the period ahead and setting out the Commission's considerations regarding the deactivation or continued activation of the general escape clause. The coordination of national fiscal policies is essential to support the economic recovery. The Commission proposed the activation of the general escape clause in March 2020 as part of its strategy to respond quickly, forcefully and in a coordinated manner to the coronavirus pandemic. It allowed Member States to undertake measures to deal adequately with the crisis, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework.

President von der Leyen

24 February 2021 - President von der Leyen spoke at the Global Citizen Campaign launch event ‘A Recovery Plan for the World'

At the launch even of the Global Citizen Campaign, President von der Leyen said: Let us overcome the pandemic with a global vaccination campaign. Let us stop the hunger crisis. Bring children back to their classrooms. Fight rising inequalities. And engage in a green recovery, treating our planet with care and respect.” She added that: “The first important ‘rendez-vous' of the year will be the Global Health Summit in May, which I will convene with Prime Minister Draghi in Rome.”

Vaccines

19 February 2021 - EU doubles contribution to COVAX to €1 billion to ensure safe and effective vaccines

The European Union announced an additional €500 million for the COVAX Facility, doubling its contribution to date for the global initiative secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The additional contribution brings the total amount to €1 billion. Announcing the new contribution at the G7 virtual summit, President von der Leyen said: “Last year, as part of our Coronavirus Global Response, we committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who would need them. COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal. This is why we decided to double the European Commission's contribution to COVAX, to €1 billion.”

Image of a researcher

17 February 2021 – European Commission tackles COVID-19 variants while increasing preparedness

The Commission will establish a new bio-defence plan called HERA Incubator to tackle short to medium-term threats and simultaneously prepare for the future by serving as the blueprint for the EU’s long term preparedness for health emergencies. The HERA Incubator will bring together research, biotech companies, manufacturers, regulators and public authorities to focus on rapid detection and characterisation of variants, swift adaptation of vaccines, setting up a European Clinical Trials Network, and enable the up-scaling of production. President von der Leyen said “Together, we will work on identifying new variants quicker, adapt existing vaccines, organise clinical trials, share data, fast track regulatory approval and upscale mass production of new vaccines.”

euro coin

11 February 2021 – Winter 2021 Economic Forecast published: a challenging winter, but light at the end of the tunnel

The European Commission has published its Winter 2021 Economic Forecast, which projects that the euro area economy will grow by 3.8% in both 2021 and 2022 while the EU economy will grow by 3.7% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022. The euro area and EU economies are expected to reach their pre-crisis levels of output earlier than anticipated in the Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast. Economic growth is set to resume in the spring and gather momentum in the summer as vaccination programmes progress and containment measures gradually ease. The economic impact of the pandemic remains uneven across Member States and the speed of the recovery is also projected to vary significantly.

Image of the Berlaymont banner "Next Generation EU"

10 February 2021 – €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Facility to help member states emerge stronger from the crisis approved by the European Parliament

The European Commission welcomes the European Parliament's vote confirming the political agreement reached on the Recovery and Resilience Facility of December 2020. This marks an important step towards making €672.5 billion in loans and grants available to Member States to support reforms and investments. The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU, the EU's plan for emerging stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic. President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Defeating the virus thanks to vaccines is essential. But we also need to help citizens, businesses and communities exit the economic crisis. The Recovery and Resilience Facility will bring €672.5 billion to do just that. It will invest in making Europe greener, more digital, more resilient, for everyone's long term benefit.”

AstraZeneca

29 January 2021 – European Commission authorises third safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

The Commission has granted a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by AstraZeneca, making it the third vaccine authorised in the EU. This authorisation follows a positive scientific recommendation based on a thorough assessment of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency and is endorsed by the Member States. President von der Leyen said: “Securing safe vaccines for Europeans is our utmost priority. With the AstraZeneca vaccine now authorized, 400 million additional doses will be available in Europe. I expect the company to deliver these doses as agreed, so that Europeans can be vaccinated as soon as possible. We will continue doing all we can to secure more vaccines for Europeans, our neighbours and our partners worldwide.”   

proof of COVID-19 vaccination

27 January 2021 – EU Member States adopt guidelines on proof of COVID-19 vaccination for medical purposes

The EU Members States, with the support of the European Commission, adopted guidelines on proof of COVID-19 vaccination for medical purposes. These guidelines help make COVID-19 vaccination certificates interoperable, and establish a minimum dataset, including a unique identifier. The guidelines aim for a scheme can accommodate both paper and digital means, ensure flexibility and compatibility with existing national solutions, and a rigorous protection of personal data. The guidelines are the result of the discussions and reflections stemming from the eHealth Network, as well as consultations with the Health Security Committee, European Medicines Agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization.

 

People walking in an airport

25 January 2021 – The European Commission proposes to update the coordinated approach on free movement inside the EU, and travel from third countries to the EU

The Commission is proposing additional safeguards and requirements for international travellers into the EU, and to update the Council Recommendation on coordinated measures affecting free movement within the EU. Measures include mandatory testing before departure, stricter measures for those coming from high-risk regions, and a common European Passenger Locator Form. The Commission proposal includes adding ‘dark red’ to the existing colour-coded map provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. New coronavirus variants and the volatile health situation worldwide call for further action to ensure any essential travel to the EU takes place safely. It is now for the Council to consider this proposal and for EU Member States to agree.

vaccines

21 January 2021 - EU leaders agreed on speeding up vaccination and discussed other measures at European Council

At the European Council meeting, leaders noted the seriousness of the situation in the light of the new variants. Leaders want to speed up vaccination and agreed to work on a standardised and inter-operable form of proof of vaccination for medical purposes.  Solidarity with third countries was also reaffirmed. Additionally, borders need to stay open to ensure the functioning of the Single Market and more testing and more genome sequencing is needed. However, non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged. The Commission proposed to add a new colour, ‘dark red’, to the map published every week by European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Read the press statement of President von der Leyen.

person being vaccinated

19 January 2021 – The European Commission sets out key actions for a united front to beat COVID-19

Two days ahead of European Leaders’ videoconference on a coordinate response to the coronavirus, the Commission set out actions in a Communication to step up the fight against the pandemic and speed up vaccination. By March 2021, at least 80% of people over the age of 80, and 80% of health and social care professionals in every Member State should be vaccinated. By summer 2021, a minimum of 70% of the adult population should get vaccinated. President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Vaccination is essential to get out of this crisis. We have already secured enough vaccines for the entire population of the European Union. Now we need to accelerate the delivery and speed up vaccination.”

girl getting vaccinated

12 January 2021 – The European Commission concludes exploratory talks with Valneva to secure a new potential vaccine

The Commission has concluded exploratory talks with the pharmaceutical company Valneva with a view to purchasing its potential vaccine against COVID-19 once proven safe and effective. The envisaged contract would provide for the possibility for all EU Member States to purchase 30 million doses, with an option to purchase up to 30 million more doses. President von der Leyen said: "Today's step toward reaching an agreement with Valneva further complements the EU's vaccines portfolio and demonstrates the Commission's commitment to find a lasting solution to the pandemic."

pfizer vaccine

8 January 2021 - European Commission proposes to purchase up to 300 million additional doses of BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine

The Commission proposed to EU Member States to purchase an additional 200 million doses of the BioNTech and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with the option of acquiring another 100 million doses. The additional doses will be delivered starting in the second quarter of 2021.This will allow the EU to purchase up to 600 million doses and thereby double the amount of doses of this already-used vaccine. President von der Leyen said: “With the two authorised vaccines, we have already secured an amount of doses to vaccinate 380 million Europeans. This is more than 80% of the European population. And other vaccines will follow in the coming weeks and months.”

vaccination medical student

6 January 2021 - European Commission authorises second safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

The Commission has granted a conditional marketing authorisation for the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by Moderna, the second vaccine authorised in the EU. This authorisation follows a positive scientific recommendation based on a thorough assessment of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency and is endorsed by the Member States. President von der Leyen said: “With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorised in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come. Europe has secured up to two billion doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines.