series of test tubes in a drawer

31 August 2020 - Coronavirus Global Response: The Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility

To accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines for everyone who needs them, the Commission joins the ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility’. The COVAX Facility is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO. President von der Leyen said: “Almost €16 billion in guarantees have been pledged so far and the most talented researchers and organisations are pooling their efforts to deliver vaccines, tests and treatments, which will be our universal, common good. Today, the Commission is announcing a €400 million contribution to COVAX for working together in purchasing future vaccines.”

Commissioner Kyriakides signing the first contract with the company AstraZeneca

27 August 2020 – The European Commission formally signs first contract with AstraZeneca

The first contract that the European Commission negotiated on behalf of the EU Member States with a pharmaceutical company entered into force following the formal signature between AstraZeneca and the Commission. President von der Leyen said: “The Commission is working non-stop to provide EU citizens with a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 as quickly as possible. The entry into force of the contract with AstraZeneca is an important step forward in this respect. I am looking forward to enriching our portfolio of potential vaccines thanks to contracts with other pharmaceutical companies and engaging with international partners for universal and equitable access to vaccination.”

Two men in a workshop

25 August 2020 – The European Commission proposes to provide €87.3 billion in financial support for 16 Member States under SURE

On 24 and 25 August, the Commission presented proposals to the Council to grant financial support of €87.3 billion to 16 Member States under SURE to support short-term work schemes and protect livelihoods. The countries include Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Portugal. Once approved, SURE will shield workers and support businesses by providing financial support in the form of loans granted on favourable terms to help national short-time work schemes, and the self-employed in particular. President von der Leyen said: “We must do everything in our power to preserve jobs and livelihoods. Today marks an important step in this regard.”

researcher in a laboratory

20 August 2020 – The European Commission continues expanding future vaccines portfolio through new talks with CureVac

The Commission has concluded exploratory talks with CureVac to potentially purchase a vaccine against COVID-19. Once the vaccine is proven safe and effective, it would be possible for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine and it is envisaged that the Commission would initially purchase 225 million doses on behalf of all Member States. President von der Leyen said: “The Commission delivers on its promise to secure rapid access to a safe and effective vaccine. We will soon have an agreement with CureVac, the innovative European firm that earlier received EU funding to produce a vaccine in Europe.“

A scientist at work in a lab

14 August 2020 – The European Commission reaches first agreement on a potential vaccine with AstraZeneca

The European Commission has reached a first agreement with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. Once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, the Commission has agreed the basis for a contractual framework for the purchase of 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on behalf of EU Member States, with an option to purchase 100 million more. President von der Leyen said: “The European Commission's intense negotiations continue to achieve results. Today's agreement is the first cornerstone in implementing the European Commission's Vaccines Strategy”.

Researcher working on vaccine

13 August 2020 – The European Commission concludes further talks to secure future vaccine

The Commission has concluded exploratory talks with Johnson & Johnson to purchase a potential vaccine against the coronavirus. The envisaged contract would provide for the possibility for the initial purchase of 200 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States if it proves to be safe and effective against COVID-19.

President von der Leyen said: “Our citizens' lives and our economy need a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus. Today's talks bring us closer to achieving this. The Commission is making every effort, in close cooperation with the Member States and with pharmaceutical companies to actively contribute to this end.”

Research lab

11 August 2020 - 23 new research projects to receive €128 million in EU funding

The Commission will support 23 new research projects with €128 million in response to the coronavirus crisis. The funding will enable some 347 research teams from 40 countries, including 34 participants from 16 countries outside of the EU, to strengthen industrial manufacturing capacities, deploy medical technologies and digital tools and improving the understanding of the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. The funding under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, is part of the Commission's €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative. These research actions complement earlier efforts to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Sanofi talks

31 July 2020 – The European Commission concludes talks to secure a future coronavirus vaccine

The European Commission has concluded exploratory talks with the pharmaceutical company Sanofi to purchase a potential COVID-19 vaccine. Once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective, the Commission would purchase of 300 million doses for all EU Member States.  President von der Leyen said: “The European Commission does all in its power to ensure that Europeans have rapid access to a safe vaccine. Today’s step with Sanofi is a first important cornerstone of a much broader European Vaccines Strategy. We are in discussions with several other companies. While we do not know today which vaccine will work best in the end, Europe is investing in a diversified portfolio of promising vaccines.’

scientist

29 July 2020 - European Commission secures EU access to Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19

The Commission has signed a €63 million contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead to secure treatment doses of Veklury, the brand name for Remdesivir. Veklury was the first medicine authorised at the EU level for treatment of COVID-19. From early August and onwards, batches of Veklury will be made available to Member States and the UK, with the coordination and support of the Commission, to ensure the treatment of some 30,000 patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms. The Commission is also preparing a joint procurement for further supplies of the medicine, expected to cover additional needs.

handshake

27 July 2020 - The European Commission launches call for innovative response and recovery partnerships between EU regions

To support the coronavirus response and recovery, and to help regions seize opportunities, the Commission is launching a call for expressions of interest for innovation projects between regions, focusing on four thematic areas: development of the medical value chain; safety and management of medical waste; sustainable and digital tourism; and the development of hydrogen technologies in carbon-intensive regions. The overall budget to develop four thematic partnerships is €400,000 (up to €100,000 per partnership) from the European Regional Development Fund and the call will be open until 7 September 2020.

Ursula von der leyen

23 July 2020 – Commission President von der Leyen in the European Parliament: “Together, we now have the chance to achieve something historic for Europe.”

Following an agreement in the European Council on Europe’s Recovery Plan, Commission President von der Leyen said in the European Parliament: “We now have massive and unprecedented financial firepower - €1.8 trillion. We can ensure that Next Generation EU accelerates the twin green and digital transitions. 30% of Next Generation EU and our EU budget will be spent on climate-related projects. Next Generation EU can be one of the largest stimulus for investment and reforms anywhere in the world – investing in rolling out 5G, AI and industrial digitisation, renewables, sustainable transport and energy efficient buildings. We have a clear commitment to respecting the rule of law and because this is a European investment in our European Union, it is essential that the European Parliament plays a key role."

budget

21 July 2020 – European leaders reach a deal on the recovery plan and European long-term budget 2021-2027

After 4 long days and nights of negotiations, EU leaders successfully agreed on the recovery plan for Europe. More than 50% of the overall long-term EU budget and Next Generation EU – a total of some €1,8 trillion -  will support modern policies and set Europe on path to a sustainable and resilient recovery, creating jobs and repairing the damage caused by the coronavirus, while building a more green and digital future.  President von der Leyen said: “Europe as a whole has now a good chance to come out stronger from the crisis. Today, we have taken a historic step that we all can be proud of. Now we have to work with the European Parliament to secure an agreement.”

testing lab image

15 July 2020 - Commission strengthens preparedness for possible future coronavirus outbreaks

While aiming to save lives and to avoid lockdowns, the Commission is setting out immediate short-term measures to strengthen EU health preparedness in case of possible future coronavirus outbreaks. Testing and contact tracing, improved public health surveillance and wider access to personal protective equipment, medicines and medical devices are essential in swiftly addressing future outbreaks. Actions outlined in the Communication also include reducing the burden on health systems of seasonal influenza, further protecting the most vulnerable and other non-pharmaceutical measures.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission speeking at the European Parliament

8 July 2020 – President Ursula von der Leyen: we can emerge stronger from this crisis

When addressing the European Parliament on the occasion of the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, President von der Leyen said: “Solidarity means that those who need it, get more support. In Next Generation EU, investments are linked to reforms based on existing country-specific recommendations. And each and every Member State has work to do. If we want to come out stronger from the crisis, we must all change for the better. This is what Europeans expect us to do. Economic recovery is inseparable from the European Green Deal, as well as digitalisation and resilience. Do not neglect our seven-year budget – over Next Generation EU. Next Generation EU is for the acute crisis – but the long term budget is there to stay, and it is the most important tool. These policies need real European added value and they need a strong seven-year funding to bring that to life.”

money euros

7 July 2020 – Summer 2020 Economic Forecast: Uneven recovery expected to gain traction in second half of 2020

Despite the swift and comprehensive policy response to the corona-crisis at both EU and national levels, the Summer 2020 Economic Forecast projects a deep recession in the EU economy this year. Because the lifting of lockdown measures is proceeding at a more gradual pace than assumed in our Spring Forecast, the impact on economic activity in 2020 will be more significant than anticipated. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 8.3% in 2020 and grow by 5.8% in 2021, while the euro area economy is set to contract by 8.7% in 2020 and grow by 6.1% in 2021. However, early data for May and June suggest that the worst may have passed. The recovery is expected to gain traction in the second half of the year, albeit remaining incomplete and uneven across Member States.

1 July 2020 – Youth Employment Support: a bridge to jobs for the next generation of Europeans

The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the often difficult start many young people face, but young Europeans deserve the best opportunities that Europe can offer. The Commission is taking action to ensure that the next generation of Europeans can thrive, while also making  Europe greener and more digital, by proposing to reinforce the Youth Guarantee, future-proofing the EU’s vocational education and training, renewing the impetus for apprenticeships, as well as by supporting other youth employment measures. The Commission expect national governments to invest at least €22 billion euro to support youth employment.

Global response event

27 June 2020 - Coronavirus Global Response pledging summit mobilises another €6.15 billion.

The ‘Global Goal: Unite for our Future' pledging summit organised by President von der Leyen and Global Citizen on 27 June mobilised €6.15 billion to help develop and ensure equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments. This amount includes a €4.9 billion pledge by the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the European Commission, and €485 million committed by EU Member States.  As a landmark of global solidarity, the summit resulted in commitments for the production capacity of over 250 million vaccine doses for middle and lower income countries. The global pledging summit and concert brought together artists, scientists and world leaders to speak with one voice to ensure universal access to coronavirus medicines. The event brings total pledges under the Coronavirus Global Response pledging marathon to €15.9 billion.

Global response event

26 June 2020 - Coronavirus Global Response: tune in to summit and concert on Saturday, 27 June at 3pm CET.

The global pledging summit and concert organised by the Commission and Global Citizen is happening this Saturday (27 June). Artists, scientists and world leaders will speak with one voice to mobilise additional funding for coronavirus treatments and vaccines.  Airing on Saturday evening at 3pm CET, the pledging summit will be hosted by President Ursula von der Leyen who will also co-host the concert together with actor Dwayne Johnson. It will include performances and appearances by Shakira, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock, David Beckham, Kerry Washington, Hugh Jackman and many others. You can find the full line-up here. Tune in on: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and Spotify at on Saturday.  The summit will be streamed on Global Citizen’s website and social media.

Coronavirus global response

22 June 2020 - Coronavirus Global Response: Commission announces world leaders’ summit and concert line-up for 27 June pledging event

Artists have the power to inspire change. With the aim of mobilising additional funding for the Coronavirus Global Response to developing and universally deploying coronavirus vaccines, artists, scientists and world leaders will speak with one voice at the ‘Global Goal: Unite for our Future’ Summit and Concert. Airing on Saturday evening at 3pm CET, the pledging summit will be hosted by President Ursula von der Leyen who will also co-host the concert together with actor Dwayne Johnson. It will include performances and appearances by Shakira, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock, David Beckham, Kerry Washington, Hugh Jackman and many others. You can find the full line-up here. Tune in on: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The summit will be streamed on Global Goal Unite’s website and social media.

17 June 2020 – EU COVID-19 vaccines strategy unveiled

The European Commission has presented a European strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of coronavirus vaccines as it is our best bet at permanently beating the pandemic within a timeframe of 12 to 18 months, if not earlier. Every month gained in finding such a vaccine saves lives, livelihoods and billions of euros. Delivering on this complex undertaking requires running clinical trials in parallel with investing in production capacity to be able to produce millions, or even billions, of doses of a successful vaccine. Companies with a promising vaccine candidate, already in or close to starting clinical trials, are invited to contact the Commission at EC-VACCINES@ec.europa.eu

reopen eu visual

15 June 2020 - ‘Re-open EU’ – a new web platform launched to safely resume free movement and tourism in the EU

The European Commission has launchedRe-open EU’, a web platform that contains essential information for a safe relaunch of free movement and tourism across Europe, so that you confidently can enjoy your upcoming holidays. The platform will provide real-time information on borders, travel restrictions, public health and safety measures such as physical distancing or the use of facemasks, as well as other practical information for travellers. Re-open EU is available in the 24 official EU languages. Use and bookmark Re-open EU on desktop and mobile.

man with mask checking his phone

10 June 2020 – EU steps up action to fight coronavirus disinformation

The European Commission and the High Representative are stepping up the fight against coronavirus disinformation by proposing a way forward in a Joint Communication. It sets out the immediate response and concrete actions that can quickly be set in motion to counter the massive wave of false or misleading information, including attempts by foreign actors to influence EU citizens and debates. At the same time, the EU will continue to ensure the freedom of expression and support media the independent reporting of which is so crucial during the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed actions will feed into future EU work on disinformation, notably the European Democracy Action Plan and the Digital Services Act

Interior of an innovation lab

8 June 2020 – To fight the coronavirus and to support the recovery, EU grants €314 million to innovative companies

The European Commission has announced that it has awarded 36 companies with nearly €166 million, via the European Innovation Council Accelerator Pilot, will work on pioneering projects: bio-decontamination wipes, developing low-cost mass casualty ventilation monitoring systems, and an antibody platform to treat severe cases of infection. Over €148 million will be granted to another 36 companies set to contribute to the recovery plan for Europe, for example by the development of stronger and taller wind turbine towers made from wood modules. 

Lab

4 June 2020 - European Commission pledges €300 million to the Vaccine Alliance

On 4 June, the European Commission announced a €300 million pledge to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for the period 2021–2025. The funding will help immunise 300 million children around the world and finance vaccine stockpiles to shield against outbreaks of infectious diseases. It will ensure the successful transition of some countries into self-financing and deliver over 3.2 billion doses of vaccines to 55 countries. More than €1.5 billion was collected for the Vaccine Alliance at the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event which was co-hosted by the European Commission in an effort to overcome this pandemic and avoid to another.  

pills

3 June 2020 – Commission takes first step towards adoption of a Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe

The European Commission has published a roadmap on the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. Anyone can share their feedback and help shape the proposal. The Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe will address risks, secure pharmaceutical production capacities in Europe, support the European pharmaceutical industry to remain an innovator and world leader, and ensure Europe’s supply of safe and affordable medicines. The Commission regularly consults citizens, businesses and stakeholders on its initiatives, such as the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. The roadmap will be followed by a public consultation.

global response

28 May 2020 - Coronavirus Global Response: “Global Goal: Unite For Our Future” kick-off with support from Global Citizen

The Coronavirus Global Response was kick-started on 4 May and has so far raised €9,8 billion for universal access to affordable coronavirus vaccination, treatments and testing. On the launch of the next phase, President von der Leyen said: “The world needs to unit and defeat the virus once and for all. The good news is that this is already happening. We are launch a new campaign “Global Goal: Unite For Our Future” and this idea comes from Global Citizen. During the next month, people will make their voices heard and contribute to our common fight against the coronavirus. On 27 June, I will host a final pledging summit where businesses, foundations and citizens can join forces with public donors.”

Recovery plan for Europe

27 May 2020 - Europe’s moment: major €2,4 trillion Recovery Plan for Europe unveiled to repair and prepare for the next generation

To kick-start the European recovery, protect lives, livelihoods and jobs, the European Commission is proposing a major €2,4 trillion recovery plan which is based on using the full potential of a powerful, modern and revamped EU budget to deliver a more sustainable, digital, inclusive and fair Europe. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Europe’s next generation will reap the benefits of tomorrow. These investments will not only preserve the outstanding achievements of the last 70 years, but will also ensure that our Union is climate natural, digital, social and a strong global player in the future. This is about all of us. It is way bigger than any of us. This is Europe's moment.”

mask

26 May 2020 - Coronavirus solidarity: EU Industry steps in to protect European citizens

European companies have shown extraordinary solidarity in this crisis. Several companies across Europe have shifted production from textiles, clothes, and cosmetic products to personal protective equipment such as face masks, ventilators and sanitizing gel. Some European companies have pledged to donate products in an act of solidarity with citizens. The European Commission helps companies retool and ramp up production of personal protective equipment by making guidelines on standards freely available, accelerated approval and made recommendations on conformity.

EU semester

20 May 2020 - European Semester Spring Package: Recommendations for a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic

On 20 May, the European Commission proposed country-specific recommendations for all EU Members States and the United Kingdom, based upon the Commission’s growth strategy, which promotes competitive sustainability to build an economy that works for people and the planet. The recommendations cover areas such as investments in public health and resilience of the health sector, preserving employment through income support for workers, and investments in people and skills. A coordinated European economic response is crucial to relaunch economic activity, mitigate damage to the economic and social fabric, and to reduce divergences and imbalances. The European Semester of economic and employment policy coordination therefore constitutes a crucial element of the recovery strategy.

researcher covid-19

19 May 2020 – Coronavirus research boosted by €122 million of additional funding

The Commission has mobilised another €122 million from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for urgently needed research into the coronavirus. The new call for expressions of interest contributes to the Commission’s €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen on 4 May 2020. The new research will learn from large groups of patients across Europe and better understanding of the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic could help improve treatment and prevention strategies. The projects funded under this call should also repurpose manufacturing for rapid production of vital medical supplies and equipment needed for testing, treatment and prevention, and develop medical technologies and digital tools to improve detection, surveillance and medical care.

airport

13 May 2020 – Safely resuming travel and rebooting Europe’s tourism: Commission takes action

To allow people to take holidays and catch up with their friends and families, to let tourism businesses reopen after months of being locked down, and to help Member States help gradually lift travel restrictions while respecting the necessary health precautions, the European Commission presented a set of guidelines and recommendations for tourists, travellers and businesses. The package includes an overall strategy, a common approach to restore free movement, a framework to support transportation, a recommendation on travel vouchers, and criteria for restoring tourism. The flexible approach which allows tourism to continue is based on: epidemiological criteria, the application of containment measures, and economic and social distancing considerations.

Medical research

12 May 2020- €117 million granted for Coronavirus treatments and diagnostics

The Commission selected 8 large-scale research projects aimed at developing treatments and diagnostics for the coronavirus, in a fast-track call for proposals launched in March by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership. The Commission increased the Horizon 2020 initially-allocated funding of €45m to €72 million, while €45 million will be provided by the pharmaceutical industry, Innovative Medicines Initiative associated partners and other organisations, bringing the total investment to €117 million. The selected projects are part of the common European response  to the coronavirus outbreak that the Commission is coordinating since the beginning of the crisis. By allocating funding from Horizon 2020 and partnering with the pharmaceutical industry, the Commission is able to fund a larger number of high-quality proposals and speed up the development of coronavirus diagnostics and treatments, essential tools necessary to tackle the global emergency.

masks delivery

11 May 2020 – European solidarity in action – rescEU masks delivered to North Macedonia and Montenegro

Following previous deliveries to Italy, Spain and Croatia, additional batches of masks are being delivered to North Macedonia and Montenegro via rescEU – the common European reserve of medical equipment to help countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak. A first batch of 1,5 million medical masks was delivered to 17 Member States and the UK to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus on 8 May. Additional weekly instalments of 1,5 million masks will also be delivered over the coming six weeks via the Emergency Support Instrument. Romania and Germany, host the rescEU reserve and are therefore responsible for procuring the equipment, while the Commission finances 100% of purchase of the masks and other equipment. More information here.

Masks delivery

8 May 2020 – European solidarity in action – the Commission delivers first batch of 1.5 million masks to support EU health workers

A first batch of 1,5 million medical masks is being delivered to 17 Member States and the UK to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus. Additional weekly instalments of 1,5 million masks will also be delivered over the coming six weeks. This latest EU mask delivery is part of a new Commission funded purchase of 10 million masks via the Emergency Support Instrument to provide direct support to Member States to mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic and to support the recovery.

highlight

7 May 2020 – Commission helps Member States address the shortages of health workers speed up the recognition of health workers’ professional qualifications

To help address the shortages of health workers, the Commission issued a Communication which provides guidance for Member States. The guidance speeds up the recognition of medical workers’ professional qualifications, clarifies the rules to allow doctors and nurses in training to practice their professions, and facilitates the freedom of movement for professionals so that they can be of assistance where they are most needed. The Communication also affirms the Commission’s availability to support Member States and professionals to weather the crisis, maintain their free movement rights and ensure patients’ safety.

Map of spring economic forecast

6 May 2020 – Spring 2020 Economic Forecast – recession and recovery

Despite the swift and decisive EU and national responses, the EU economy will experience a recession this year as the coronavirus pandemic came as a major economic shock. The Spring 2020 Economic Forecast projects the EU economy to contract by 7½% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021. Given the interdependence of the EU economies, the dynamics of the recovery in each Member State will also affect the strength of the recovery of other Member States. Unprecedented and sustained EU and national responses will be crucial to limiting the economic damage and facilitating a swift and robust recovery to set the economies on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth.

Picture of President von der Leyen

4 May 2020 – Coronavirus Global Response: €7,4 billion raised from donors worldwide for universal access to vaccines 

The European Commission registered €7.4 billion in pledges from donors worldwide during the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event which began today with the aim raising funding for the development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus. President von der Leyen said: “Today the world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. With such commitment, we are on track for developing, producing and deploying a vaccine for all. However, this is only the beginning. We need to sustain the effort and to stand ready to contribute more. The pledging marathon will continue. After governments, civil society and people worldwide need to join in, in a global mobilisation of hope and resolve.” More information here.

Picture of the banner on the Berlaymont building

2 May 2020 – Final countdown: Coronavirus Global Response pledging marathon starts on Monday 4 May

With the Coronavirus Global Response, the European Union is joining forces with global partners to kick-start a worldwide pledging effort to develop treatments, vaccines and diagnostics. On Monday, 4 May, President von der Leyen will host a global online pledging event at 3pm CET, which you can follow on EbS. The initial goal is to reach €7.5 billion worth of pledges.
President von der Leyen said: “On 4 May, we want to bring the world together to deliver on prevention, diagnostics and treatments against coronavirus. Our objective is to raise money and to launch unprecedented global cooperation between health organisations and all relevant partners. I invite everyone to contribute.”  

online consumers

30 April 2020 – European Commission doubles down on prevening scams and protecting consumers

The European Commission is committed to protecting consumers online – especially during the coronavirus pandemic where some rogue actors are promoting false claims or scam products. The European Commission recently launched a number of screenings of online platforms and advertisements to ensure that consumers in the EU are not being subjected to misleading content. Online platforms (Allegro, Amazon, AliExpress, Microsoft/Bing, CDiscount, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Rakuten, Wish and Yahoo/Verizon media) have responded positively and demonstrated a strong commitment take down misleading ads and illegal advertising, thereby protecting consumers after EU Justice Commissioner Reynders reached out to them. These checks will be carried out by the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network of national authorities.

western balkans aid

29 April 2020 – Tackling the coronavirus crisis: European Commission steps up its support to the Western Balkans

The European Commission has announced over €3.3 billion of EU financial support for the Western Balkans – addressing the immediate health and social needs of the coronavirus pandemic, and the economic recovery. In addition to its contribution ahead of the EU-Western Balkans’ leaders meeting of 6 May 2020, the Commission has broadly outlined longer-term support – an Economic and Investment Plan – to be presented in the autumn. President von der Leyen said: “We have a special responsibility to assist in this pandemic our partners in the Western Balkans, as their future clearly lies in European Union. The EU is mobilising a substantial financial package, confirming the strong solidarity. Together we will overcome this crisis and recover”.

Valdis Dombrovskis Press Conference

28 April 2020 – Banking package: supporting households and businesses in the EU

To ensure that banks can continue to lend money, support the economy and help mitigate the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, the European Commission has adopted a banking package. The package will allow banks to continue lending to households and businesses throughout the EU, and includes an Interpretative Communication on the EU’s accounting and prudential frameworks, as well as targeted “quick fix” amendments to EU banking rules. The Commission will engage with the European financial sector to explore how it can develop best practices that could further support citizens and businesses.

global summit

27 April 2020 - EU launches global pledging effort with partners

To develop and deploy safe, effective and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines against coronavirus, the European Union is joining forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort – the Coronavirus Global Response – starting on 4 May 2020. Countries and organisations around the world are invited to make pledges and to help reach the target of €7.5 billion. European Commission President von der Leyen said: “We need to bring the world, its leaders and people together against coronavirus. We will launch a global pledging effort. A real marathon. Beating the coronavirus requires a global response and sustained actions on many fronts. We need to develop a vaccine, to produce it and deploy it to every corner of the world.”

ursula von der leyen video conference

24 April 2020 – European Commission to shape a common recovery plan with a revamped EU long-term budget at its heart 

European leaders tasked the European Commission with shaping a collective response to the crisis following a videoconference on 23 April. A thorough economic assessment will soon be under way and the European budget, clearly linked to the Recovery Fund, is a time-tested and a trusted instrument that can deliver the magnitude of tasks behind the recovery. The bulk of the investments will go to creating investments and economic cohesion, improving the Union’s resilience and autonomy, all while furthering modern policies like the European Green Deal and the digital transition. Solid partnerships in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood must also be strengthened. “ The next EU long-term budget, our next seven-year budget, has to adapt to the new circumstances, post-corona crisis. We need to increase its firepower to be able to generate the necessary investment across the whole European Union,” said President von der Leyen. This whole endeavour is about protecting the Single Market, investments should be front-loaded in the first years and it will be necessary to find the right balance between grants and loans.

agricolture programmes

23 April 2020 - Exceptional measures to support the agricultural food sector

To swiftly support agricultural sector and food markets following the outbreak of the coronavirus, the European Commission has proposed exceptional measures.

The Commission proposes to grant private storage aid for dairy and meat products, flexibility in the implementation of market support programmes to refocus funding priorities, and exceptional derogation from EU competition rules to stabilise the markets in different sectors. For example, the milk sector will be allowed to collectively plan milk production and the flower and potatoes sector will be allowed to withdraw products from the market. Such agreements and decisions would only be valid for a period of maximum six months. Consumer price movements will be monitored closely to avoid adverse effects. The Commission aims to have these measures adopted by the end of April.

EU flags

22 April 2020 - €3 billion financial assistance package for ten neighbouring countries

The Commission proposed a €3 billion macro-financial assistance package to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners with the aim to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis in partner countries. The proposal comes in addition to the €15.6 billion ‘Team Europe’ strategy, the EU’s targeted response in support of partner countries' efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. Beneficiaries are the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Kosovo, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, the Republic of Tunisia and Ukraine.
Image of hands wearing gloves

21 April 2020 - EU mobilises support for Italy, Croatia and neighbouring countries

The EU coordinates and co-finances the delivery of aid shipments in the EU and in neighbouring countries, after requests for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Slovakia is sending masks and disinfectant to Italy, while Austria is sending gloves and disinfectant to Croatia. As part of the overall EU support for the Western Balkans, Austria is also sending gloves, disinfectant and other items to Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Moldova. Serbia will also receive blankets, mattresses and tents for migrants in the country from Austria.

Image of a server room

20 April 2020 – Coronavirus: New data sharing platform for researchers

An EU COVID-19 Data Platform has been established by the European Commission and partners to rapidly collect and share comprehensive coronavirus research data, such as DNA sequences, protein structures, data from pre-clinical research and clinical trials, as well as epidemiological data, to advance research efforts. The Commission supports the research and innovation to develop vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical systems to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The platform is an important part in the building of Europe’s Open Science Cloud and researchers will be able to store, share and analyse a wide variety of findings on coronavirus, from genomic data to microscopy and clinical data..

passenger in an airport

17 April 2020 - Over 500,000 EU citizens brought home

The EU has managed to bring home over half a million citizens affected by coronavirus travel restrictions by funding repatriation flights and carrying out intense consular cooperation. At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, some 600,000 EU citizens declared themselves stranded outside the EU, most of who are short-term travellers. There are still some 98,900 EU citizens stranded abroad (mostly in Asia-Pacific and Africa) and efforts to swiftly bring them home in the coming days are ongoing. These historically unique efforts have also benefitted citizens from partner countries, such as Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK, with 5,000 of their citizens being brought home with EU flights.

ursula von der leyen press conference

16 April – 2020 – President von der Leyen: “The European budget will be the mothership of Europe’s recovery”

Despite Europe’s collective response being well above €3 trillion – the most impressive response in the world - more is needed, President von der Leyen said at the European Parliament. The EU budget will be the mothership of Europe’s recovery, driving the economy towards a more green and digital Europe. Investments in large-scale renovation, renewables, clean transport, sustainable food and nature restoration will be more important than before. Using every single euro available has meant investing in the procurement of medical equipment, the development of vaccines, securing jobs and supporting business to jumpstart the economy. President von der Leyen concluded with a passionate plea for the European Union: “If we all stand up for Europe today – with courage, trust and solidarity – I know that tomorrow Europe’s soul will shine brighter than ever before.”

woman holding her phone

16 April – 2020 – A European approach to tracing apps – completely voluntary and fully respecting privacy

To establish voluntary contact tracing and warning systems that fully respect privacy, the European Commission has put forward a toolbox and guidelines. Bluetooth-based proximity apps should only be used voluntarily, be highly secure, easily accessible, effective and fully respect privacy while supplying non-personal aggregated data to epidemiological public health bodies to protect and save lives.

charles michel and ursula von der leyen

15 April 2020 – A European roadmap to lifting containment measures

The European Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council put forward a roadmap, recommendations and key principles to lifting the containment measures. A successful coordinated European approach to gradually phasing out containment measures will require the correct timing and that several  common criteria are fulfilled: the spread of the virus must decrease and stabilise, health care systems must have capacity, and large-scale testing capacities must be put in place. A number of measures should accompany the phase-out - a contact tracing system must be put in place, testing capacities must be expanded, effective treatments must be developed and health care systems must have capacity. 

Protective medical equipment

14 April 2020 – €2,7 billion from the EU budget to support the healthcare sector

To directly support healthcare systems in EU countries, the European Commission proposed to activate the EU’s Emergency Support Instrument – a measure that that Council quickly approved on 14 April. The €2.7 billion Instrument will support the distribution of protective gear, the movement of patients to hospitals with free capacity, and to the development of medication and testing methods. The instrument will be used together with other EU tools, for example the rescEU medical stockpile, which is receiving €300 million in addition to the initially proposed allocation of €80 million, to support the distribution of medical equipment across the EU. It will also be possible for individuals, foundations and Member States to make donations and crowd fund.

pills

8 April 2020 – €15.6 billion for global EU coronavirus response; EU calls on Member States to ensure availability of medicines

To fight the coronavirus across the globe, the EU will support the public health and address the humanitarian and sanitary needs of partner countries across the globe by providing financial assistance of more than €15.6 billion. At the same time, on 8 April, the Commission calls on Member States to ensure that Europeans have access to medicines while protecting public health and preserving the Single Market. The Commission issued guidelines to ensure the adequate supply, swift transportation, allocation vital medicines and to prevent any shortages.

coronavirus medical unit

07 April 2020 - EU Medical Corps deployed to Italy

Today, the EU Medical Corps coordinated by the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre dispatched a team of European doctors and nurses from Romania and Norway to Bergamo. 3,360 litres of medical disinfectant were offered by Austria to Italy via the Mechanism. In addition, the European Union’s Copernicus satellite system has been activated by Italy, to map out health facilities and monitor activities.

Financial aid coronavirus

06 April 2020 – €8 billion to support some 100,000 European businesses

Funding to support and provide relief to some 100,000 businesses hit by the economic consequences of the Coronavirus will be available in April as the European Commission and the European Investment Fund unlock €8 billion from thanks to the European Fund for Strategic Investments. Businesses will be able to directly apply for support at their local banks and/or lenders participating in the scheme, listed on the Access to finance website.

workers producing masks

03 April 2020 – Postponing regulation for medical devices, lifting customs duties for protective equipment

The Commission proposed to postpone regulations on medical devices by one year to allow manufacturers to focus on the production of critical medical devices and avoiding shortages or delays potentially caused by regulatory bodies, thereby and saving lives.

The Commission also decided to temporarily lift customs duties and VAT on the import of medical devices and protective equipment from third countries. By making the import of masks, gloves, overalls and other protective equipment in some cases by up to one third cheaper, the decision will further increase the availability of these critical goods and help those in need. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said: “We are working on all fronts to remove the obstacles standing in our way to ensure that our health professionals get what they need to save lives.”

Ursula von der Leyen President of the European Commission

02 April - Coronavirus response: Commission mobilises every euro to protect lives and livelihoods

To quickly support workers and mitigate the unemployment risks that come with the Coronavirus outbreak, the Commission launched a new initiative called SURE - Support mitigating Unemployment Risks in Emergency. To help preserve jobs and support families, SURE will provide financial assistance of up to €100 billion to Member States, in the form of loans granted on favourable terms. It also proposed to redirect all available structural funds to the response to the coronavirus. Farmers and fishermen will also receive support, as will the most deprived of aid. An EU Solidarity for Health Initiative worth €3billion will cater for the needs of Member States’ health systems. The profound impact of the Coronavirus crisis requires a response unprecedented in scale, speed and solidarity. With today’s package, the Commission delivers just that.

scientist

01 April 2020 - Commission scientists develop new control material for reliable Coronavirus-testing across the EU

Scientists at the European Commission have designed a new control material that can be used to accurately assess the functioning of their coronavirus tests and to avoid false negatives. The control material samples are highly concentrated and only a very small quantity is required to check one test.

law

31 March 2020 – President von der Leyen warns: Emergency Coronavirus measures must respect EU fundamental principles and values

Over the past weeks, several EU Member States have taken emergency measures to address the health crisis caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.It is of utmost importance that emergency measures are not at the expense of our fundamental principles and values as set out in the Treaties.

30 March 2020 – launch of a dedicated ‘Fighting disinformation’ section linked to the coronavirus outbreak

Misinformation and disinformation in the health space are thriving, including on COVID-19. It is important that you rely only on authoritative sources to get updated information