Emergency Support Instrument for coronavirus crisis response

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.

Euro coins


The Emergency Support Instrument has a budget of €2.7 billion from the EU. Member States and other donors can make additional contributions.

Gear picture

How does it work?

The Emergency Support Instrument helps when and where it is needed. There are no national envelopes. The European Commission takes decisions on where the money should go in order to bring the greatest impact and on how much should be spent on each action. In implementing the instrument, the Commission works in close dialogue with Member States’ national authorities and the European Parliament, as well as other stakeholders.


Monitoring progress

€100 million are earmarked for purchasing healthcare related material.

medical mask

EU stars

Some €220 million are being made available for assistance to medical personnel and operational support for mobile medical response capacities.

This will make medical personnel and teams available where they are most needed in Europe, and assist with transporting cargo (e.g. medical equipment and personal protective equipment), and transporting patients between Member States for treatment. 

Emergency Support Instrument successes


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.


Masks being delivered


rescEU strategic medical stockpile under the Union Civil Protection Mechanism

As an additional safety net, the European Commission has created a strategic rescEU medical stockpile and distribution mechanism – a common European reserve – under the umbrella of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. The stockpile enables the swift distribution of medical equipment such as ventilators, personal protective equipment, vaccines and therapeutics and laboratory supplies.

The Union Civil Protection Mechanism enables EU Member States help one another in emergencies. The stockpile, hosted by one or several EU Member States allows the EU to quickly react to the current as well as to future health crises. The rescEU reserve constitutes the last resort layer of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and can be activated to address any type of hazard.
The European Commission coordinates the exercise, manages the rescEU medical stockpile, and funds up to 100% of its development and deployment. The strategic medical stockpile is part of the wider rescEU reserve, enabling capacities such as aerial firefighting means and medical evacuation capacities.

EU Member States, the UK (during the transition period), Iceland, Norway, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey participate in the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and can all host or access the equipment under the stockpile.

Euro coins


  • up to €380 million for medical stockpile
  • up to €77 million for rescEU transition and capacities (not related to the medical stockpile)
Gear picture

How does it work?

The European Commission can give grants of up to 100% to develop rescEU capacities. The hosting Member State procures on behalf of the Union.

Deployments that the EU budget finances:

  Inside EU (including participating states) Outside EU 
Spontaneous offers 75% transport 75% transport
European Civil Protection Pool 75% operational costs 75% operational costs
rescEU capacities 75% operational costs /  
100% in case of high-impact and low probability risks
100% operational costs (if EU countries or their citizens could be significantly affected)

EU successes

     delivery of medical supplies

A total of 330,000 protective masks coming from the strategic rescEU distribution centres in Romania and Germany have been distributed between Italy, Spain and Croatia.
These deliveries come in addition to teams of doctors and nurses, as well as stocks of equipment that have been sent bilaterally and via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.


These are the first of several planned deliveries.

Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative

The European Commission made it possible for Member States to use €8 billion of unspent pre-allocated cohesion policy funds on coronavirus-related measures. In addition, EU countries can spend their entire 2020 cohesion envelopes totalling €54 billion to tackle the pandemic, in full flexibility and where needed the most.

bank icon The money can be used to purchase medical equipment, pay medical professionals, support the unemployed, secure jobs and to support businesses.
Euro coins


  • immediate support of €8 billion - cash reserves from the EU structural funds
  • flexibility to use the entire 2020 cohesion envelopes of €54 billion to tackle the pandemic

The amounts per Member States are linked to their cohesion policy envelopes.

Gear picture

How does it work?

Thanks to the coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, EU countries can:

  • exceptionally request 100% EU co-financing for their cohesion policy programmes
  • transfer resources between funds as well as between categories of regions
  • redirect resources to the areas most impacted by the current crisis, in full flexibility
  • follow simplified procedures linked to programme implementation and audit

In line with the shared management principle of cohesion policy, Member States spend the money.

Large-scale joint procurement of medical equipment with cooperating nations

Personal protective equipment – masks, gloves, goggles, face-shields and overalls – as well as medical ventilators and testing kits are vital for hospitals, healthcare professionals, patients, field workers and civil protection authorities. Through this instrument, Member State join forces and can negotiate better terms with the suppliers.

romanian health worker

All EU Member States and EEA countries, along with  the UK, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Kosovo (1) and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are part of the Joint Procurement Agreement. Since its launch in 2014, the Joint Procurement Agreement has 37 signatories and covers some 537 million people.

money icon


Each Member State participating in the Joint Procurement Agreement uses its national budget when purchasing equipment.

Gear picture

How does it work?

  • the Joint Procurement Agreement enables the large-scale joint purchase of such equipment and supplies, improving the emergency preparedness of the signatories
  • the European Commission coordinates the exercise in collecting the needs of Member States. It drafts the technical specifications, organises the launch of the procurement procedure, assesses the tenders and awards the contract(s)
  • based on the awarded contract(s), Member States place their individual orders and purchase the needed medical equipment. So far, four coronavirus-related Joint Procurements have been launched. The first four have a total budgetary ceiling (the maximum value of all combined orders) of €3.5 billion

EU successes

medical equipment Four calls for tenders have been successful, as the Commission received offers that matched the requests. Since early April, 11 contracts have been signed for personal protective equipment (goggles, face shields, FFP and surgical masks, gloves and coveralls), 15 contracts have been signed for invasive and non-invasive ventilators, as well as 9 contracts covering 29 types of laboratory equipment.
hands on a globe

In the recent past, the Joint Procurement Agreement has successfully improved Member States’ preparedness for the next flu pandemic. It ensures equal access and treatment, guarantees more balanced prices and shows a high level of solidarity between EU Member States agreeing to share a limited availability of flu vaccines in case of a pandemic.

(1) This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.