During these times of crisis, countries, regions and cities across the European Union are stretching out a helping hand to fellow EU citizens and assistance is being given to those most in need: donations of protective equipment such as masks, medical teams, cross-border treatments of ill patients and bringing stranded EU citizens home. This is European solidarity at its best.

Upon request, the European Commission, through its Emergency Response Coordination Centre, provides assistance such as coordinating and co-financing the delivery of personal protective material and other assistance, repatriation flights to bring back stranded citizens from outside Europe, and the transport of medical teams from one country to another.

EU Civil Protection across Europe

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

In early April, European Medical Teams composed of doctors and nurses from Romania and Norway were deployed to Italy via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and coordinated by the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre.
At the beginning of August, an Italian emergency medical team was deployed to Azerbaijan, While emergency medical teams from Italy, Germany and Lithuania have been deployed to Armenia between June and July.
The European Commission coordinated and co-financed several deliveries of personal protective equipment and other materials to 20 countries both in and outside the EU via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. These include disinfectant, masks and ventilators sent to Italy by Austria, Slovakia and Denmark.
Austria, Czechia, France, the Netherlands and Denmark sent hygiene, medical and sanitary materials, as well as items such as blankets, sleeping bags and pillows, accommodation and medical care containers, to help support the Greek authorities with the decongestion of the refugee camps in the Aegean Islands.

EU medical and health support

EU Medical Teams deployed to Italy

On 7 and 8 April, a team of doctors and nurses from Romania and Norway were deployed to Milan and Bergamo respectively, mobilised through and financed by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and coordinated by the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre. Austria has also offered over 3,000 litres of medical disinfectant. In addition, the European Union’s Copernicus satellite system has been activated by Italy, to map out health facilities and monitor activities and public spaces. Several EU Member States have also sent protective equipment (masks, overalls, ventilators) to Italy and taken in Italian patients for treatment in their countries.

rescEU – a common reserve of medical equipment

On 19 March, the European Commission created a strategic rescEU capacity – a common European reserve – of emergency medical equipment, such as ventilators, protective masks, glovesand 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. 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 needed most.   .

On 2 June, the Commission proposed to reinforce rescEU with €2 billion over 2021-2027, to strengthen the response capabilities of the European Union in cases of additional cross-border emergencies. The additional funding will be used to create reserves of strategic equipment to cover health emergencies, forest fire outbreaks, chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear incidents or other major emergencies. As such the total budget for the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism will top €3, 1 billion. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre is managing the distribution of the equipment to ensure that it quickly reaches those in need.

So far, a total of 520,000 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 (37,000), North Macedonia (73,000) and Serbia (10,000).
The rescEU reserve is constantly replenished and deliveries happen regularly based on the needs of the participating countries.

 

 

Bringing stranded citizens home

The Commission is helping Member States to coordinate assistance and consular repatriation operations of EU citizens from across the world, wherever they may be.

Once a Member State activates the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre coordinates all actions with the European External Action Service and with Member States. The Commission can also co-finance up to 75% of the transport costs. Non-EU citizens can also benefit from this assistance.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than half a million people have been flown back to Europe thanks to flights organised by the Member States. In addition, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has facilitated the over 82,000 EU citizens to Europe from all over the world. 

Overview of repatriation flights

Map of repatriation flights, showing destinations and departures

 

Assistance within the EU

Emergency Support

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

EU Solidarity in action

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

The Emergency Support Instrument

The Emergency Support Instrument provides support to help Member States in their efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a broad EU tool-box to respond to needs which can be best addressed in a strategic, coordinated manner at European level. As a financing arm of the Joint European Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures, the instrument helps mitigate the immediate consequences of the pandemic and anticipate the needs related to the exit and recovery.
The Emergency Support Instrument is based on the principle of solidarity and pools efforts and resources to quickly address shared strategic needs. It is an important European top-up for the existing national and other European measures to tackle the ongoing public health crisis. On 18 June, a pilot operation has successfully delivered over seven tonnes of personal protective equipment to Bulgaria. The cargo includes over 500,000 protective masks, purchased by Bulgaria with transport costs covered by the EU.

Support for Greece

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the Commission has supported Greece in protecting vulnerable people from contracting the virus and avoid a public health crisis in the refugee camps. The Commission, including through the staff present in Greece, continues to monitor the developments in the mainland and on the islands, and provides operational and financial support to the Greek authorities. The Commission is also committed to providing emergency support needed to mitigate the consequences of crisis situations, such as the fire in the Moria Reception and Identification Centre on the Island of Lesvos.

In line with the commitment of President von der Leyen during her visit to Greece at the beginning of March, €350 million were immediately made available to support 5 projects for migration management, under Emergency Assistance. These projects covered the continuation of assistance for reception capacity in mainland Greece and on its islands, by providing rental scheme accommodation and support.

Furthermore, immediate response was provided to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the islands of the Aegean, where the Reception and Identification Centres are located. Assistance was further provided to protect and support activities for unaccompanied children. In particular, the Commission coordinates and finances the relocation of unaccompanied minors from Greece to other Member States.

Additional €350 million of financial assistance were made available in April 2020. The increased funding will support, amongst other things,  increased  reception capacity on the Greek islands, the provision of  services and emergency items (e.g. food but also non-food items) in the camps, the provision of additional medical teams, increased  assistance to the Greek Asylum Service, and the deployment of border guards and police officers at Greece’s external borders. The funding support also aims at helping Greece to prevent and slow down the potential spread of the coronavirus in the camps, including through the transfer of vulnerable people from camps to alternative accommodation.

On 1 July, the Commission adopted a decision approving 13 additional requests by Greece for technical support through the Structural Reform Support Programme. The funding aims to support Greece recover from the coronavirus pandemic, by boosting economic growth, alleviating social challenges and improving the lives of its citizens in tangible ways. The new measures will come on top of the more than 170 support projects coordinated by the Commission in Greece.

Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, 17 Member States have offered more than 90,000 items of in-kind assistance to Greece, such as shelter, health and sanitation items, some of these used to support efforts in preventing a coronavirus outbreak. Furthermore, Austria offered additional hygiene, medical and sanitary materials, as well as non-alimentary items (blankets, sleeping bags, pillows), accommodation and medical care containers, while Poland offered 156 refugee housing units.

 

Assistance outside the EU

 

A global European Union response to the pandemic

Europe’s role in the world as a credible leading development and humanitarian partner continues. To fight the coronavirus on a global scale, the EU has mobilised more than €36 billion. The EU’s response follows a Team Europe approach, combining resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to support each partner country. The funds are used to address the urgent emergency response and consequent humanitarian needs, strengthen health, water/sanitation and nutrition systems and mitigate the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.

Initially, on 8 April, the European Commission announced some €15.6 billion of support for partner countries’ efforts in tackling the pandemic.

Person showing hands

tackle immediate needs,

both humanitarian and in the health care sector

icons of medical equipment

strengthen the health, water and sanitation systems of partner countries, and support research

Family above a hand holding them

address the economic and social consequences

Factsheet on the EU global response

The EU’s response follows a Team Europe approach, combining resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to support each partner country.

pie chart showing figures of EU funding

Humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable

The coronavirus pandemic has created a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions in some of the most critical areas of the world. To respond to the most pressing needs of already vulnerable nations, in February 2020, the EU was among the very first to respond to the World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Response Plan.

€30 million was allocated to meet the most pressing needs in some 10 countries already facing humanitarian crises. In addition, on 19 May, the European Commission announced that it will further allocate an additional €50 million in humanitarian aid. The new funding will help vulnerable people facing major humanitarian crises notably in the Sahel, Lake Chad and the Great Lakes regions, the Central African Republic, Eastern Africa, in Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Venezuela, as well as in the Rohingya.

The assistance will be provided to help vulnerable people meet their humanitarian needs and ensure that humanitarian actors continue to carry out their life-saving work. It will provide access to health services, protective equipment, water and sanitation, and will be channelled through non-governmental organisations, international organisations, United Nations agencies, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Some examples of EU funded humanitarian aid helping vulnerable communities can be seen here.

Aid guidance

To fight the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure that humanitarian and medical assistance reaches those in need, even when sanctions are in place, the European Commission has set up practical Guidance on how to comply with EU sanctions when providing humanitarian aid. On 12 May, the Commission published comprehensive and practical Guidelines for providing aid to Syria, clarifying the responsibilities and processes for the provision of aid. The Guidance aims to facilitate the activities of humanitarian operators, the channelling of equipment and the assistance to fight the pandemic. The Guidance is addressed to all actors involved in the supply of humanitarian aid (authorities of EU Member States implementing the sanctions, public and private operators such as donors, NGOs, banks) who must all comply with the existing EU sanctions when providing assistance.

EU Sanctions Map

EU Humanitarian Air Bridge

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about critical logistical challenges for the humanitarian community. Needs remain exponentially high in many critical areas. The delivery of vital assistance is held up due to absence of commercial flight.                  

To help with the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, on 8 May the European Union set up the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge – a temporary initiative based on a set of air transport services enabling the delivery of humanitarian aid to countries most affected by the pandemic. The air bridge flights carry essential medical equipment, humanitarian cargo and staff, and assist with repatriation flights organised by EU Member States. It provides humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable populations where the pandemic imposes further constraints on transport and logistics. All flights are funded by the European Union and operated in coordination with Member States and humanitarian organisation.

To date, more than 60 Air Bridge flights have delivered tons of medical equipment and supplies, as well as medical and humanitarian staff to critical areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

EU Humanitarian Air Bridge Factsheet

Africa

The African Union countries

On 1 September, 500.000 coronavirus testing kits were delivered by a Humanitarian Air Bridge to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In total, almost 1.4 million tests will be made available to African Union countries. The operation, part of a €10 million immediate support package to the African Union by the German Government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is also part of the larger Team Europe support to the African continental response to the coronavirus crisis. Team Europe provided €10 million to facilitate the implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for the coronavirus pandemic.

EU humanitarian aid to the African Union

Burkina Faso

On June 22, the first of two Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Burkina Faso delivered essential supplies and humanitarian workers to Ouagadougou  to support the most vulnerable and contribute to the humanitarian response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. €162 million from the European Union and its Member States have been allocated to Burkina Faso as part of the EU's global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

EU humanitarian aid to Burkina Faso

The Central African Republic

On 8 May, the first EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight to the Central African Republic, operated in cooperation with France, transported humanitarian workers from various NGOs and 13 tonnes of humanitarian cargo to the Central African Republic. Two subsequent cargo flights transported some further 27 tonnes of supplies in total.

EU humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic

The Democratic Republic of Congo

On 6 June, the first of five scheduled flights transported the first batch of essential supplies, as well as humanitarian aid workers to the Democratic Republic of Congo. A total of 36 tonnes of humanitarian cargo was delivered to the country, to help it fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The aid material includes water purifiers, nutritional support and general medical supplies; other supplies, such as laboratory equipment, masks, gloves and personal protective equipment, also intended to support the coronavirus response in the country, complementing the efforts of the national Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation, and in line with the country's response plan to the coronavirus.

EU humanitarian aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Ivory Coast

On 28 August, a  Humanitarian Air Bridge flight from Lyon to Abidjan delivered 7.5 tonnes of essential medical and personal protective equipment (medical outfits, masks, refrigerators) to support the Ivorian healthcare personnel in their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. The main aid beneficiaries are the Pasteur Institute, the National Office for Civil Protection and health facilities receiving patients.

EU humanitarian aid to the Ivory Coast

Kenya

On 28 July, in response to a request from Kenya, the EU delivered vital medical supplies and protective equipment via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. A EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operated in cooperation with the Slovak government and delivered to Kenya 20,000 protective face masks, 50,000 coronavirus test kits, hand disinfectant and laboratory supplies provided by Slovakia. On its return to Europe, the flight also repatriated stranded EU citizens.

EU humanitarian aid to Kenya

Somalia

On 5 July, the first of three Humanitarian Air Bridge flights from Brindisi, Italy, delivered humanitarian and medical supplies - personal protective equipment and medical material - to Somalia y. The flight, part of the EU's global response to the coronavirus pandemic, was put in place by the European Commission in cooperation with Italy. In total, the three flights delivered 38 tonnes of aid to Mogadishu, to bring additional aid and relief to the Somali population. The total support to Somalia in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic amounts to around €55 million. This funding helps to strengthen the health system, support the economy in these challenging times, train health staff and reinforce social support systems.

EU humanitarian aid in Somalia

Sudan and South Sudan

On 24 June, the second of two Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Sudan delivered essential supplies for those most vulnerable, to support humanitarian workers and aid with the coronavirus response in the country. The flight is fully EU-funded and operated through a coordinated Team Europe approach, bringing together the European Union, Sweden, France and the Humanitarian Logistics Network. Through the Global Response, €6 billion is dedicated to supporting countries in Africa, of which more than €120 million was mobilised in Sudan. To assist South Sudan in the fight against the coronavirus and bring relief to the country, two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights delivered essential medical equipment, providing much needed support to the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts.

EU humanitarian aid to Sudan and South Sudan

Asia

Afghanistan

On 15 June, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight delivered 88 tonnes of life-saving material to Kabul, Afghanistan. The flight, fully funded by the European Union, is part of the Air Bridge flights to critical areas of the world. In addition, the EU also provided a new €39 million aid package to Afghanistan, to support the coronavirus response efforts of the national authorities, as well as to assist the victims of war, forced displacement and natural disasters. In 2019 and 2020, the Mechanism reached 400,000 people in all provinces through the delivery of aid such as clean water and access to sanitation services. EU humanitarian projects in Afghanistan focus on providing emergency healthcare, shelter, food assistance, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, as well as various protection services supporting women and children.

EU humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

Bangladesh

To help tackle the global coronavirus pandemic and to limit the spread of the virus, the EU continues to provide assistance and support to those in need. On 28 July, the EU responded to a request from Bangladesh via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, and delivered medical supplies and protective equipment provided by France.

Middle East

Iraq

On July 27, to reinforce the humanitarian response in Iraq, two Humanitarian Air Bridge flights delivered over 40 tons of medical and emergency supplies to the country. The EU is also providing a €35 million humanitarian aid package to help victims of conflict and forced displacement in Iraq, and to support the authorities in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. EU humanitarian assistance in Iraq provides lifesaving assistance, such as emergency healthcare, shelter, access to safe water and sanitation, support to medical facilities and health care workers across Iraq, as well as the implementation of public health measures in camps. Since 2015, the EU has provided over €490 million in humanitarian aid to Iraq.

EU humanitarian aid to Iraq

Lebanon

On 31 August, a second EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight delivered 12 tonnes of essential humanitarian supplies and medical equipment (including a mobile hospital and face masks) to Beirut, to assist the Lebanese authorities in the aftermath of the explosions as well as to help with the intensifying coronavirus pandemic. The flight, operated in cooperation with Spain, follows the first delivery of essential supplies on 13 August, when 17 tonnes of humanitarian supplies, medicines and medical equipment were delivered to ensure healthcare  access for the most vulnerable. Additional EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights are scheduled.

EU humanitarian aid to Lebanon

Yemen

On 23 July, in a collaborative effort of the EU and Sweden, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight delivered medical and other essential supplies to Yemen to reinforce humanitarian assistance in the country. In total, over 220 tons of critical items are being delivered to the most vulnerable Yemenis, to assist the country with the coronavirus response and enable the continuation of other humanitarian programmes. The EU is also allocating an additional € 70 million to Yemen, particularly for humanitarian actions dedicated to emergency civilian support (combating acute malnutrition and food insecurity, alleviating the effects of natural disaster and epidemics). This financial addition brings the EU humanitarian support to Yemen in 2020 to €115 million.

EU humanitarian aid to Yemen

Latin America and the Caribbean

Peru

As part of the EU's global coronavirus response, three EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights delivered more than 4 tonnes of life-saving material to Lima, Peru, to support the efforts of the humanitarian organisations active in the country. The EU has also announced €30.5 million in humanitarian assistance, to support the most vulnerable in Latin America and the Caribbean. €15.5 million were earmarked for disaster preparedness of vulnerable communities, and the remaining €15 million, earmarked for humanitarian projects. This essential assistance is dedicated to improving local emergency response capacities and the implementation of Early Warning Systems in Latin American and Caribbean countries. The support also aims to guarantee food assistance to populations stricken by natural disasters and severe droughts, and provide protection to communities in Central America affected by organised violence.

EU Humanitarian aid to Latin America

Haiti

To supply EU-funded humanitarian partners and assist national authorities in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, on 16 July an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight delivered 74 tonnes of life-saving materials to Port-au-Prince. The EU is further supporting the most vulnerable in Haiti with an amount of €15 million in humanitarian funding, aimed at complementing national efforts in bringing relief to those affected by the coronavirus. The financial support will also contribute to the provision of emergency food and cash assistance, targeted protection, advocacy activities and disaster preparedness for vulnerable communities.

EU humanitarian aid in Haiti

Venezuela

On 19 and 21 August, two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights delivered a total of 84 tonnes of life-saving material to Venezuela, to alleviate the humanitarian impact of the coronavirus crisis, on the background of the ongoing political, economic and social crisis in the country. The flights, part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic, were fully-funded by the EU and organised in collaboration with Spain and Portugal. The 82.5 tonnes of cargo, consisting of life-saving medical equipment (personal protective gear, medicines, water purification equipment and family hygiene kits), will be distributed to health facilities as well as to the most affected families. This will enable over 500,000 Venezuelans to benefit from the much-needed humanitarian aid, including children, women, and health professionals.

EU humanitarian aid to Venezuela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other forms of assistance outside the EU

Eastern partners

The European Commission stands by Eastern Partner countries and has announced the reallocation of €140 million for the most immediate needs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine, as part of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the Commission will also redirect the use of existing instruments worth up to €700 million to help support the countries throughout the coronavirus pandemic. These funds will support the supply of medical devices and protective equipment and to support businesses and jobs.

Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia

To tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Ukraine has requested support from the European Union via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Protective facemasks, disinfectants, blankets and other items have been offered by Slovakia, Estonia and Poland while the EU coordinated and co-financed the delivery of this assistance to Ukraine.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism also coordinated and co-financed the delivery of disinfectants and PPEs 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.

Neighbouring countries

On 22 April, the Commission proposed a €3 billion macro-financial assistance package to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners: 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. The proposal comes in addition to the €15.6 billion ‘Team Europe’ strategy in support of partner countries' efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The €3 billion package aims to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis in partner countries. It will support structural reforms dedicated to strengthening economic governance and transparency, as well as improving conditions for sustainable growth.

On 11 August, the Commission, on behalf of the EU, has agreed Memoranda of Understanding on macro-financial assistance programmes with eight partners: Albania (€180 million), Georgia (€150 million), Jordan (€700 million, covering two macro-financial assistance operations), Kosovo (€100 million), the Republic of Moldova (€100 million), Montenegro (€60 million), North Macedonia (€160 million) and Ukraine (€1.2 billion). Negotiations on the Memoranda of Understanding are ongoing with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Tunisia. The ongoing and swift implementation of these programmes is an important demonstration of the EU's solidarity with these countries at a time of unprecedented crisis and will help them limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Macro-financial assistance to non-EU partner countries

Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 18 August, the European Investment Fund and Raiffeisen Bank dd Bosna i Hercegovina signed a guarantee agreement to increase the bank’s lending capacity. This agreement will help support the economic recovery in Bosnia and Herzegovina by making €12 million of new financing with improved lending conditions available to businesses in the country. The guarantee, provided under Europe’s programme for Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), is part of the Loan Guarantee Facility coronavirus economic support package.

Via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Bosnia and Herzegovina received tents and other accommodation items, gloves, disinfectant and hygiene parcels from Slovenia and Austria.

Armenia

On 19 June, a team of medical experts from Lithuania was deployed to Armenia mobilised through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The team, made up of volunteers and members of the Lithuanian coronavirus crisis management team assisted their Armenian colleagues in the fight against the coronavirus. On 26 June, an Emergency Medical Team of 10 doctors and nurses from Italy was also deployed on a mission to Armenia, via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, to provide further assistance. The EU coordinated and co-financed the transport of the medical teams to Armenia.

The Western Balkans and Turkey

On 30 March, the European Commission announced that it will provide immediate support of up to €38 million for the Western Balkans to tackle the health emergency. €374 million has also been reallocated from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance to help the socio-economic recovery of the region. The Western Balkan countries will receive assistance to cover their immediate needs of medical devices and personal equipment, such as ventilators, laboratory kits, masks, goggles, gowns, and safety suits, and support their recovery.

On 2 July, the European Commission amended the regulation supporting countries and regions eligible to the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for Cross-border Cooperation. The amendment of the Instrument will provide immediate support to the rapidly emerging needs in a flexible and effective way with regard to exposed sectors, such as healthcare or tourism under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative and Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus packages. The revised and more flexible rules are contributing to the EU global response of the European Commission to the coronavirus pandemic, which includes the ‘Team Europe’ package securing €800 million for the Western Balkans and Turkey.

Syria, Jordan and Lebanon

On 10 June, the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis mobilised an additional €55 million for refugees from Syria and vulnerable persons in Jordan and Lebanon, to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The additional support package, part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic, allocates €20.1 million to Jordan and €34.6 million to Lebanon - the two countries hosting the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. The funding will provide critical and targeted support in key areas such as health, water, sanitation and hygiene. This brings the total assistance mobilised through the EU Trust Fund to over €2.2 billion since 2015, doubling the target originally set.

EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis

Tunisia

Adopted on 2 July, two new programmes will strengthen support to migrants and the most vulnerable groups in Tunisia as they are hard hit by the crisis:

  • A €9,3 million governance and protection programme to provide protection services to vulnerable migrants,  improve access to health services as well as to continue to support migration governance and to the Tunisian-led service for the reintegration of returnees hosted by the ‘Office des Tunisiens à l’étranger’ (OTE);
  • A €5 million skills mobility programme built on two mobility agreements between France and Tunisia for young professionals and seasonal workers.

Libya

Libya remains the biggest beneficiary under the North of Africa window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, with €455 million in programmes, with the majority going to the protection of migrants and refugees and community stabilisation, alongside actions for border management.

Three new programmes adopted on 2 July will improve the resilience of both Libyans and migrants in the area of health following the coronavirus:

  • A €30,2 million protection programme for health assistance, non-food items, emergency cash assistance and emergency evacuations outside of Libya (when travel restrictions are lifted);
  • A specific €20 million coronavirus programme to strengthen the immediate response to the virus, including for personal protective equipment and training for health staff; the strengthening of laboratory capacities and intensive care response;
A €25 million community stabilisation programme to continue to improve the living conditions in the Libyan municipalities by enhancing access to basic and social services.

African countries

On 2 July, as part of the EU's global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU - through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa - has adopted a new assistance package to protect migrants, stabilise local communities and respond to the coronavirus in North Africa. This package includes €80 million in new funds as well as €30 million reallocated from non-contracted actions under the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

In line with the Joint Communication on the global EU response to the coronavirus, this new funding will also strengthen the immediate response capacity, reinforce the health systems and services in the North African partner countries, protect refugees and migrants and stabilise local communities.

To help support those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, extreme weather conditions such as persistent drought, or other crises, on 20 July the Commission provided €64.7 million in humanitarian aid for countries in the southern Africa region. The beneficiary countries are Angola (€3 million), Botswana (€1.95 million), Comoros (€500,000), Eswatini (€2.4 million), Lesotho (€4.8 million), Madagascar (€7.3 million), Malawi (€7.1 million), Mauritius (€250,000), Mozambique (€14.6 million), Namibia (€2 million), Zambia (€5 million), Zimbabwe (€14.2 million) and Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique (€5 million). The funding will provide support to the coronavirus crisis response and preparedness of the national authorities. It will facilitate access to healthcare, protective equipment, sanitation and hygiene, and support early warning systems, evacuation plans for vulnerable communities and emergency stocks of personal protective equipment. The funding will also provide food assistance to vulnerable households in the affected areas, support for children’s education and training to teaching staff.

More information on support to North Africa and on regional initiatives

Digital solutions

To pursue innovative responses to the global coronavirus pandemic, on 17 July the Commission announced a €10.4 million programme to promote digital solutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. The programme will further be extended to additional Eastern and Southern African states and in the Indian Ocean region, aiming to improve the resilience of health and education systems in these countries. The funding will support e-learning and vocational training in the education sector, and will promote digital solutions to enhance the quality and efficiency of health services. To foster a stronger EU coordinated approach, the EU and Member States also established the Digital for Development Hub platform. This platform will bring together EU local tech companies, to work on affordability, connectivity and public access to private digital service solutions.

Central African Republic

The European Commission will provide €54 million in support of the Central African Republic to help the government strengthen public spending exacerbated by the fight against the pandemic. As the Central African Government’s efforts for health actions have significantly increased the pressure on public finances, the European Union is assisting the national authorities with two budget support programmes, for state consolidation (€45 million) and security sector and governance reform (€9 million). Fountains and water supply sources have already been built in Bangui and Paoua, and the distribution of medical equipment and local production of masks has been stepped up (160,000 units).

EU humanitarian aid to the Central African Republic

The Horn of Africa 

On 17 June, the EU announced a €60 million package to support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organisation with eight member states in the Horn of Africa, to tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The financial assistance will be channelled mainly in support of vulnerable groups, including migrants, refugees, displaced persons and cross-border communities, and will provide a wide range of medical and personal protective equipment, including million surgical masks, test kits and ambulances.

EU response to the impact of the coronavirus in the IGAD region

Ecuador and El Salvador

To help tackle the global coronavirus pandemic and to limit the spread of the virus, the EU continues to provide assistance and support to those in need. On 28 July, the EU responded to requests from Ecuador and El Salvador via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and medical supplies and protective equipment provided by France were delivered to the two countries.

Early assistance to China

At the outset of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the European Commission acted swiftly and in full solidarity with China. It coordinated and co-financed the delivery of emergency medical supplies through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Over 56 tonnes of personal protective equipment (protective clothing, disinfectant and medical masks) were delivered to China, provided by France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia.

Chinareciprocated the received assistance by delivering critical medical equipment to the most hard-hit EU Member States. On 6 April, a donation of protective equipment from China to the European Union arrived in Rome, following an agreement reached by President von der Leyen and Premier Li Kequiang. The distribution of 2 million surgical masks, 200,000 N95 masks and 50,000 testing kits delivered to Italy was coordinated by the Emergency Response Coordination Centre.

More information about investment initiatives.

 

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