An elderly lady receives a vaccine shot

31 August 2021 - 70% of the EU adult population fully vaccinated against COVID-19

 

The EU has reached a crucial milestone with 70% of the adult population now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In total, over 256 million adults in the EU have now received a full vaccine course. Seven weeks ago, the Commission’s delivery target was met ahead of time: to provide Member States with enough vaccine doses by the end of July to fully vaccinate 70% of the adult EU population. President von der Leyen said:  “The full vaccination of 70% of adults in the EU already in August is a great achievement. The EU's strategy of moving forward together is paying off and putting Europe at the vanguard of the global fight against COVID-19.  But the pandemic is not over. We need more. I call on everyone who can to get vaccinated. And we need to help the rest of the world vaccinate, too. Europe will continue to support its partners in this effort, in particular the low and middle income countries.”

Vaccine nurse prep

4 August 2021 – The European Commission approves new contract for a potential COVID-19 vaccine with Novavax

 

The European Commission has approved its seventh Advanced Purchase Agreement with a pharmaceutical company to ensure access to a potential vaccine against COVID-19. Under this contract, EU countries will be able to purchase up to 100 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, with an option for 100 million additional doses over the course of 2021, 2022, and 2023, once reviewed and approved by European Medicines Agency as safe and effective. Member States will also be able to donate vaccines to lower and middle-income countries or to re-direct them to other European countries.

covid vaccine

27 July 2021 - Statement by President von der Leyen on a new milestone in the EU Vaccines Strategy

 

President von der Leyen said: “The EU has kept its word and delivered. Our target was to protect 70% of adults in the European Union with at least one vaccination in July. Today we have achieved this target. And 57% of adults already have the full protection of double vaccination. These figures put Europe among the world leaders. The catch-up process has been very successful - but we need to keep up the effort. The delta variant is very dangerous. I therefore call on everyone - who has the opportunity - to be vaccinated. For their own health and to protect others. The EU will continue to provide sufficient volumes of vaccine.”

23 July 2021 – New expert group on variants and COVID-19 therapeutics holds first discussion

 

As part of the HERA Incubator, the Commission’s new expert group on COVID-19 variants held its first meeting to discuss the circulation and categorisation of variants and the need to adapt vaccines to them. The expert group will support the HERA Incubator by anticipating the threat of COVID-19 variants, including categorising variants and assessing the need to adapt existing vaccines. It will also propose selection criteria for a list of 10 promising COVID-19 therapeutics, as announced under the Therapeutics Strategy. The expert group proceedings will be available on the Commission’s register of expert groups.

22 July 2021 – Commission issues new travel guidelines for Member States to ensure smooth air travel

 

The Commission has issued new guidelines for EU Member States on the best ways to check the EU Digital COVID Certificate before air travel. To avoid duplication of Certificate checks by more than one actor (airline operators, public authorities etc.), the Commission recommends a ‘one-stop’ verification process prior to departure, involving coordination between authorities, airports and airlines. This should avoid multiple checks of the EU Digital COVID Certificates during a single journey, avoid congestion at airports and ensure the smoothest possible experience for passengers and staff alike.

Euro coin

7 July 2021 - Summer 2021 Economic Forecast: Reopening fuels recovery

 

The European economy is forecast to rebound faster than previously expected, as activity in the first quarter of the year exceeded expectations and the improved health situation prompted a swifter easing of pandemic control restrictions in the second quarter. According to the Summer 2021 interim Economic Forecast, the economy in the EU and the euro area is set to expand by 4.8% this year and 4.5% in 2022.

Digital covid cert on phone

1 July 2021- EU Digital COVID Certificate enters into application in the EU

 

The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation entered into force on 1 July. 26 Member States and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have already begun to issue certificates. The EU Digital COVID Certificate facilitates safe and free movement in the EU during the pandemic. The certificate is (digital) proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19.

28 June 2021 – The European Commission and consumer authorities call on airlines to improve handling of flight cancellations

Airlines operating in the EU must respect EU consumer law – from ensuring transparent communication, to proactively informing passengers about their rights. The Commission and national consumer authorities have called on airlines to improve their handling of cancellations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, they must provide a choice between a refund and a voucher and inform passengers that they have the right to exchange their vouchers for money at any time. This action follows a huge number of consumer complaints and is based on the results of a survey of 16 major airlines launched earlier this year.

vaccine doses

18 June 2021 - Belgian Court orders AstraZeneca to deliver vaccine doses to the EU

The Court of First Instance of Brussels decided to order AstraZeneca to urgently deliver 50 million vaccine doses by 27 September 2021 in the case brought against AstraZeneca by the European Commission and the 27 EU Member States. President von der Leyen said: “This decision confirms the position of the Commission: AstraZeneca did not live up to the commitments it made in the contract. It is good to see that an independent judge confirms this.” The President added: “This shows that our European vaccination campaign not only delivers for our citizens day by day. It also demonstrates, that it was founded on a sound legal basis.”

Berlaymont

15 June 2021 – The European Commission publishes early lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

The European Commission presented a Communication on the early lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, taking stock of the past 18 months and building on them to improved action at all levels. President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The EU’s comprehensive response to the pandemic has been unprecedented in scale and delivered in record time, proving the importance of working jointly in Europe. Together, we have achieved what no EU Member State could have done alone. But we have also learned what worked well and where we could do better in future pandemics. We must now turn these lessons into changes.”

Presidents of the EU institutions at signing ceremony

14 June 2021 - EU clears way for the EU Digital COVID Certificate

The Presidents of the EU institutions attended the signing ceremony for the Regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate. President von der Leyen said: “Today, the European Digital COVID Certificate reassures us of this spirit of an open Europe, a Europe without barriers, but also a Europe that is slowly but surely opening up after a most difficult time – the pandemic.”

vaccine-production

4 June 2021 – The EU proposes a strong multilateral trade response to the coronavirus pandemic

The EU has submitted its proposal seeking the commitment of World Trade Organization members for a multilateral trade action plan to expand the production of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. With these proposals, the EU urges fellow World Trade Organization members to agree on a set of commitments. President von der Leyen said: “Our immediate, urgent goal is to continue to ramp up production, to share vaccines wider and faster and to ensure equitable access for low – and middle-income countries. Today we present with concrete proposals to find short and medium term solutions. Equity does not only mean access but also access at affordable prices”.

man departures smartphone

1 June 2021 - EU Digital COVID Certificate: EU Gateway goes live with seven countries joining

Today, the EU Digital COVID Certificate has reached another important milestone with the go-live of the EU Gateway, the technical system that will allow the verification of certificates in a secure and privacy-friendly way. This is an important step on the way back to a normal life for Europe’s businesses and citizens, ahead of the summer. Seven Member States are connected and have started to issue and or verify at least one of the certificates: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland. The updated overview is available on the dedicated webpage.

airport Spain

31 May 2021 – The European Commission proposes update to coordinated travel measures ahead of the summer

As the epidemiological situation is improving and vaccination campaigns are speeding up all over the EU, the Commission is proposing that Member States gradually ease travel measures, including most importantly for the holders of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The Commission has also proposed to update the common criteria for risk areas and to introduce an ‘emergency brake mechanism, to address the prevalence of new variants of concern or interest. The proposal also includes specific provisions on children to ensure unity of travelling families and a standard validity period for tests.

worker in a shop

25 May 2021 – The European Commission disburses €14.1 billion under SURE to 12 Member States

The European Commission has disbursed €14.14 billion to 12 EU Member States in the seventh instalment of financial support under the SURE instrument. As part of the operations, Belgium has received €2 billion, Bulgaria €511 million, Cyprus €124 million, Greece €2.54 billion, Spain €3.37 billion, Italy €751 million, Lithuania €355 million, Latvia €113 million, Malta €177 million, Poland €1.56 billion, Portugal €2.41 billion and Estonia €230 million. This is the first time that Bulgaria and Estonia are receiving funding under the instrument. These SURE loans will assist Member States in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure to preserve employment following the coronavirus pandemic.

two people with luggage at the train station

21 May 2021 - EU Digital COVID Certificate: European Parliament and Council reach agreement on Commission proposal

The European Parliament and the Council have come to a provisional political agreement on the EU Digital COVID Certificate (previously called the Digital Green Certificate). President von der Leyen said: “We are delivering on our commitment to have the EU Digital COVID Certificate up and running before the summer. European citizens are looking forward to travelling again, and today's agreement means they will be able to do so safely very soon. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is free of charge, secure and accessible to all. It will cover vaccination, test and recovery offering different options to the citizens. It fully respects citizens' fundamental rights, including protection of personal data.”

Pfizer vaccines

20 May 2021 – The European Commission signs a third contract with BioNTech-Pfizer for an additional 1.8 billion doses

The European Commission signed a third contract with BioNTech-Pfizer. It reserves an additional 1.8 billion doses on behalf of all EU Member States, between the end of 2021 to 2023. It will allow for the purchase 900 million doses of the current vaccine and option to purchase an additional 900 million doses. The EU needs to remain one step ahead of the coronavirus. This means having access to adapted vaccines to protect us against the threat of variants, booster jabs to prolong immunity as well as protecting our younger population. President von der Leyen said: “With our signature, the new contract is now in force, which is good news for our long term fight to protect European citizens against the virus and its variants! Production and delivery in the EU of up to 1.8 billion doses are guaranteed.”

Euro coin

12 May 2021 – The European Commission publishes its Spring 2021 Economic Forecast
 

The European Commission has published the Spring 2021 Economic Forecast projects that the EU economy will expand by 4.2% in 2021 and by 4.4% in 2022. The euro area economy is forecast to grow by 4.3% this year and 4.4% next year. This represents a significant upgrade of the growth outlook compared to the Winter 2021 Economic Forecast which the Commission presented in February. 

A young researcher in a lab

6 May 2021 – The European Commission proposes EU strategy for the development and availability of therapeutics

The European Commission is complementing the EU Vaccines Strategy with a strategy on COVID-19 therapeutics to support the development and availability of medicines, including for the treatment of ‘long COVID’. It is part of the European Health Union and will help EU countries prepare and respond to health threats together. The strategy covers the full lifecycle of medicines: from research, development and manufacturing to procurement and deployment. By June 2021, the Commission will draw up a portfolio of 10 potential COVID-19 therapeutics and identify the five most promising ones. The new authorisations, rolling reviews and joint procurement contracts will be up and running before the end of the year.

Brussels airport

3 May 2021 – Commission proposes to ease restrictions on non-essential travel

 

The Commission is proposing that Member States ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, considering the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide. Entry to the EU for non-essential reasons is to be allowed for all persons incoming from countries with good epidemiological situations and vaccinated individuals. The Commission also proposes to raise the COVID-19 cases threshold used for the list of countries from which all travel should be permitted. An ‘emergency brake’ mechanism coordinated at EU level would limit the risk of new virus variants entering the EU and function as counter-balance.