We must look out for each other, we must pull each other through this. Because if there is one thing that is more contagious than this virus, it is love and compassion. And in the face of adversity, the people of Europe are showing how strong that can be.
- 22 October
First rescEU ventilators dispatched to Czechia
Following a request for assistance from Czechia, the EU has immediately sent a first batch of 30 ventilators from rescEU - the common European reserve of medical equipment set up earlier this year to help countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
- 21 October
Commission issues first emission of EU SURE social bonds
The European Commission issued a EUR 17 billion inaugural social bond under the EU SURE instrument to help protect jobs and keep people in work. The issuing consisted of two bonds, with EUR 10 billion due for repayment in October 2030 and EUR 7 billion due for repayment in 2040. There was very strong investor interest in this highly rated instrument, and the bonds were more than 13 times oversubscribed, resulting in favourable pricing terms for both bonds.
- 19 October
EU interoperability gateway goes live, first contact tracing and warning apps linked to the system
To exploit the full potential of contact tracing and warning apps to break the chain of coronavirus infections across borders, the Commission, at the invitation by EU Member States, has set up an EU-wide system to ensure interoperability – a so-called ‘gateway'. After a successful pilot phase, the system went live on 19 October with the first wave of national apps now linked through this service: Germany's Corona-Warn-App, Ireland's COVID tracker, and Italy's immuni.
- 19 October
EUR 25 million to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis in The Gambia
The European Union disbursed EUR 25 million of budget support for The Gambia's response to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the Team Europe global package, these funds contribute to the recovery from the pandemic and also support the transition towards democracy and medium-term development objectives.
- 15 October
Commission lists key steps for effective vaccination strategies and vaccines deployment
Ahead of the meeting of European leaders, the Commission presented the key elements to be taken into consideration by Member States for their COVID-19 vaccination strategies in order to prepare the EU and its citizens for when a safe and effective vaccine is available, as well as priority groups to consider for vaccination first.
- 8 October
The Commission approves third contract to ensure access to a potential vaccine
The Commission approved a third contract with a pharmaceutical company, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The contract will allow EU countries to purchase vaccines for 200 million people once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19. They will also have the possibility to purchase vaccines for an additional 200 million people. The Commission has already signed a contract with AstraZeneca and with Sanofi-GSK and concluded successful exploratory talks with CureVac, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.
- 7 October
Up to EUR 100 billion of EU SURE bonds to be issued as social bonds
The Commission announced that it would issue its forthcoming EU SURE bonds of up to EUR 100 billion as social bonds, and adopted to that end an independently evaluated Social Bond Framework. This Framework demonstrates to the investor community how the funds raised by SURE bond issuance will be used for a clearly identified objective: alleviating the social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences across the EU.
- 25 September
Council approves EUR 87.4 billion in financial support for member states under SURE
The Council approved EUR 87.4 billion of financial support to 16 member states in the form of EU loans under SURE – a temporary EU instrument to mitigate unemployment risks during the coronavirus crisis.
- 22 September
Four new Member States join the rescEU medical reserve
Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Sweden have joined Germany and Romania as host states of the rescEU medical equipment reserve. With financial support from the European Commission now altogether 6 EU Member States are building up common European stocks of lifesaving protective and other vital medical equipment that can be distributed across Europe at times of medical emergencies, for example when national health systems are overwhelmed by coronavirus patients.
- 18 September
The Commission signs second contract to ensure access to a potential vaccine
A second contract with a pharmaceutical company entered into force on 18 September following the contract's formal signature between Sanofi-GSK and the Commission. The contract will allow all EU Member States to purchase up to 300 million doses of the Sanofi-GSK vaccine.
- 11 September
EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Peru and EUR 30.5 million for Latin America and the Caribbean
As part of the EU's global coronavirus response, an EU humanitarian air bridge operation with three flights to Lima, Peru delivered more than 4 tonnes of life-saving materials to humanitarian organisations active in the country. The EU has also announced EUR 30.5 million in humanitarian assistance to support the most vulnerable in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020.
- 10 September
WHO and Commission launch the Facilitation Council to strengthen global collaboration
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, co-hosted the first meeting of the High Level Facilitation Council, leading the work of the global collaborative framework Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (the ACT-A) to speed up the development and deployment of vaccines, tests and treatments against COVID-19, as well as to improve health systems.
- 9 September
Commission completes vaccines portfolio following talks with a sixth manufacturer
The Commission concluded exploratory talks with BioNTech-Pfizer to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. BioNTech-Pfizer is the sixth company with which the Commission has concluded talks, following Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, CureVac and Moderna. The first contract, signed with AstraZeneca, entered into force on 27 August.
- 4 September
Commission proposes more clarity and predictability of any measures restricting free movement in the EU
The Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation to ensure that any measures taken by Member States that restrict free movement due to the coronavirus pandemic are coordinated and clearly communicated at the EU level.
- 31 August
Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)
The Commission confirmed its interest to participate in the COVAX Facility for equitable access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines everywhere, for everyone who needs them. As part of a Team Europe effort, the Commission has also announced a contribution of €400 million in guarantees to support COVAX and its objectives in the context of the Coronavirus Global Response.
- 27 August
The Commission signs first contract with AstraZeneca
The first contract the European Commission has negotiated on behalf of the EU Member States with a pharmaceutical company entered into force. The contract will allow the purchase of a vaccine against COVID-19 for all the EU Member States, as well as the donation to lower and middle income countries or the re-direction to other European countries. Through the contract, all Member States will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis. The Commission continues discussing similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers and has concluded successful exploratory talks with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July, Johnson & Johnson on 13 August, CureVac on 18 August and Moderna on 24 August.
- 24 August
Commission proposes to provide €81.4 billion in financial support for 15 Member States under SURE
The Commission presented proposals to the Council for decisions to grant financial support of EUR 81.4 billion to 15 Member States under the SURE instrument. SURE is a crucial element of the EU's comprehensive strategy to protect citizens and mitigate the severely negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Once the Council approves these proposals, the financial support will be provided in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to Member States.
- 22 August
EU Humanitarian Air Bridge supports Venezuela
As part of the EU's global coronavirus response, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation consisting of two flights to Venezuela has concluded after delivering a total of 82.5 tonnes of life-saving material to supply humanitarian partners in the field. The first flight departed on 19 August from Madrid, Spain to Caracas, Venezuela, while the second flight followed on 21 August. These EU-funded flights are part of the ongoing Humanitarian Air Bridge operations to critical areas of the world.
- 18 August
Commission proposes to extend 2020 European Capitals of Culture into 2021
The Commission proposed the extension of the 2020 European Capitals of Culture year until 30 April 2021 for Rijeka (Croatia) and Galway (Ireland). The Commission also proposed to postpone the year in which Novi Sad (Serbia) is due to host a European Capital of Culture, from 2021 to 2022, and the year in which Timisoara (Romania) and Elefsina (Greece) will hold the title, from 2021 to 2023. Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the Commission has been in close contact with the teams of all European Capitals of Culture from 2020 to 2023, with a view to better understanding the impact on the delivery and preparation of current and upcoming European Capitals of Culture.
- 14 August
Commission reaches first agreement on a potential coronavirus vaccine
The Commission has reached a first agreement with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19 as well as to donate to lower and middle income countries or re-direct to other European countries. This agreement represents the basis for a contractual framework for the purchase of 300 million doses of the vaccine, with an option to purchase 100 million more, on behalf of EU Member States.
- 13 August
Further talks to secure coronavirus vaccines for Europeans
Following the first positive steps with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July, the Commission concluded further exploratory talks with Johnson & Johnson to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. The envisaged contract would provide for the possibility for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine. It is anticipated that, once the vaccine has proven to be safe and effective, the Commission would have a contractual framework in place for the initial purchase of 200 million vaccine doses on behalf of all EU Member States, with an option to purchase an additional 200 million doses.
- 11 August
EU funding for 23 new coronavirus research projects
The Commission will support 23 new research projects with EUR 128 million under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. The funding, which is part of the Commission’s EUR 1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response Initiative, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen in May 2020, will enable researchers to address the pandemic and its consequences by strengthening the industrial capacity to manufacture and deploy readily available solutions, develop medical technologies and digital tools, improve understanding of behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, and to learn from large groups of patients (cohorts) across Europe. These research actions complement earlier efforts to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, and are the result of the second emergency request for expressions of interest, launched by the Commission on 19 May.
- 7 August
EU dispatches additional rescEU masks to Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia
More batches of FFP2 and FFP3 protective masks have been distributed to Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia from rescEU - the common European reserve of medical equipment set up this year to help countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the EU continues to build up reserves of medical equipment.
- 31 July
Commission concludes talks to secure future coronavirus vaccine for Europeans
The Commission has concluded exploratory talks with a pharmaceutical company to purchase a potential vaccine against COVID-19. The envisaged contract with Sanofi-GSK would provide for an option for all EU Member States to purchase the vaccine. It is envisaged that, once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against COVID-19, the Commission would have a contractual framework in place for the purchase of 300 million doses, on behalf of all EU Member States. The Commission continues intensive discussions with other vaccine manufacturers.
- 29 July
45 EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights deliver over 1,000 tonnes of medical aid
Following a new EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight to South Sudan on 29 July carrying 41 tonnes of supplies, the Commission has now coordinated and financed the delivery of over 1,100 tons of medical equipment to critical areas in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Countries supported include Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Iraq and Yemen. The 45 Air Bridge flights have also transported 1,475 medical and humanitarian staff since its launch on 8 May 2020.
- 28 July
Securing EU access to Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19
The Commission has signed a contract with the pharmaceutical company Gilead to secure treatment doses of Veklury, the brand name for Remdesivir. Veklury was the first medicine authorised at EU level for treatment of COVID-19. As from early August onwards, and in order to meet immediate needs, batches of Veklury will be made available to Member States and the UK, with the coordination and support of the Commission.
- 27 July
Call launched for innovative response and recovery partnerships between EU regions
The European Commission launched a call for expressions of interest for thematic partnerships to pilot interregional innovation projects that support the response and recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the call is to help regions grasp the opportunities emerging from the crisis, develop resilience and build on green and digital transformation for the recovery of the most affected sectors, such as health and tourism.
- 24 July
Making capital markets work for Europe's recovery
The Commission adopted a Capital Markets Recovery Package, as part of the Commission's overall coronavirus recovery strategy. These measures aim to make it easier for capital markets to support European businesses to recover from the crisis. The package proposes targeted changes to capital market rules, which will encourage greater investments in the economy, allow for the rapid re-capitalisation of companies and increase banks' capacity to finance the recovery.
- 21 July
EU leaders agree on the recovery plan and multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027
After four days of negotiations, EU leaders successfully agreed on the recovery plan for Europe. More than 50% of the long-term EU budget and Next Generation EU – a total of some EUR 1,8 trillion - will support modern policies and set Europe on path to a sustainable and resilient recovery.
- 20 July
Support for most vulnerable in Southern Africa
The Commission is providing EUR 64.7 million in humanitarian aid for countries in the southern Africa region to help support people in need dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, extreme weather conditions such as persistent drought in the region and other crises.
- 16 July
Protecting seasonal workers
The Commission presented Guidelines to ensure the protection of seasonal workers in the EU in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Guidance is given to national authorities, labour inspectorates, and social partners on how to guarantee the rights, health and safety of seasonal workers, and to ensure that seasonal workers are aware of their rights.
- 15 July
Commission strengthens preparedness for future outbreaks
The Commission presented immediate short-term measures to strengthen EU health preparedness for potential future COVID-19 outbreaks. They range from actions in testing and contact tracing, improved public health surveillance and widened access to medical countermeasures. It also envisages measures on healthcare surge capacity, non-pharmaceutical countermeasures, support to minorities and vulnerable persons, and activities to reduce the burden of seasonal flu.
- 14 July
EUR 24 million for Uganda amid coronavirus pandemic
The EU will provide EUR 24 million in humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable people in Uganda in 2020, with a special focus on refugees and their host communities. In addition, the EU has also channelled EUR 1 million to aid organisations in Uganda to support the coronavirus preparedness and control measures, in line with the national response plan.
- 7 July
Commission adopts new exceptional support measures for the wine sector
The Commission adopted an additional package of exceptional measures to support the wine sector, one of the hardest hit agri-food sectors in the coronavirus crisis. These new measures include the temporary authorisation for operators to self-organise market measures, the increase of the EU's contribution for wine national support programmes, and the introduction of advance payments for crisis distillation and storage.
- 6 July
Commission and EIB provide CureVac with a €75 million financing for vaccine development and expansion of manufacturing
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and CureVac, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of transformative medicines, entered into a €75 million loan agreement to support the company's ongoing development of vaccines against infectious diseases, including its vaccine candidate CVnCoV aimed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections.
- 2 July
New assistance package to support vulnerable groups and address COVID-19 in North Africa
As part of the EU's global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the EU - through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) - has adopted a new assistance package to protect migrants, stabilise local communities and respond to COVID-19 in North Africa. This package includes EUR 80 million in new funds as well as EUR 30 million reallocated from non-contracted actions under the EUTF.
- 29 June
Expanding Temporary Framework to further support micro, small and start-up companies and incentivise private investments
The Commission has adopted a third amendment to extend the scope of the State aid Temporary Framework adopted on 19 March 2020 that would enable Member States to further support micro, small and start-up companies. The main purpose of the Temporary Framework is to provide targeted support to otherwise viable companies that have entered into financial difficulty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
- 27 June
Coronavirus Global Response: EIB and Commission pledge additional EUR 4.9 billion
The ‘Global Goal: Unite for our Future' pledging summit organised on 27 June by the European Commission and Global Citizen mobilised EUR 6.15 billion in additional funding to help develop and ensure equitable access to coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments. This amount includes a EUR 4.9 billion pledge by the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the European Commission, and EUR 485 million committed by EU Member States. This brings total pledges under the Coronavirus Global Response pledging marathon to EUR 15.9 billion.
- 24 June
Increased support for EU farmers affected by the COVID-19 crisis
Today, the Council adopted a regulation which allows Member States, as an exceptional measure, to pay up to EUR 7 000 to farmers and up to EUR 50 000 to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) active in processing, marketing or development of agricultural products or cotton, except fishery products. The aim is to make use of available funds under existing rural development programmes to provide support to farmers and SMEs worst-hit by the COVID-19 crisis and to address the liquidity and cash-flow problems stemming from the closures of shops, markets and restaurants.
- 24 June
Council agrees on the postponement of certain tax rules
The Council adopted an amendment to the Directive on administrative cooperation in the area of taxation allowing member states an option to defer by up to 6 months the time limits for the filing and exchange of the following information: automatic exchanges of information on financial accounts of which the beneficiaries are tax residents in another member state, and reportable cross-border tax planning arrangements.
- 24 June
Supporting Sudan through EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight
On 24 June, the second of two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights arrived in Sudan, helping humanitarian workers and essential supplies reach people in need and supporting the coronavirus response in the country. This fully EU-funded Humanitarian Air Bridge flight to Sudan was made possible through a coordinated Team Europe approach, bringing together the European Union, Sweden, France and the Humanitarian Logistics Network.
- 18 June
Supporting Central African Republic and the regional response to the pandemic in the Horn of Africa to limit socio-economic risks of the pandemic
As part of the European Union's response to the COVID-19 crisis in Africa, the European Commission has decided to grant €54 million to the Central African Republic to help the government shore up public expenditure negatively affected by the fight against the virus. The Commission has also on 17 June announced a €60 million package to help tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic, in support of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in its mandate to coordinate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Horn of Africa.
- 18 June
EU funding for the transport of medical goods, medical teams and patients
EU countries can now apply for additional funding via the Emergency Support Instrument to transport essential goods, medical teams and patients affected by the coronavirus. This comes in addition to support already available via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and deliveries of protective equipment through rescEU. On 18 June, a pilot operation has successfully delivered over seven tonnes of personal protective equipment to Bulgaria, including over 500,000 protective masks, purchased by Bulgaria with transport costs covered by the EU.
- 16 June
Commission unveils EU vaccines strategy
The Commission presented a European strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing and deployment of vaccines against COVID-19. An effective and safe vaccine against the virus is our best bet to achieve a permanent solution to the pandemic. With this strategy, the Commission will support efforts to accelerate the development and availability of safe and effective vaccines in a timeframe between 12 and 18 months, if not earlier.
- Watch President’s von der Leyen's video message on the EU Vaccines Strategy
- 15 June
‘Re-open EU’: New web platform to help safely resume free movement and tourism in the EU
The Commission launched ‘Re-open EU’, a web platform that contains essential information allowing a safe relaunch of free movement and tourism across Europe. To help people confidently plan their travel and holidays during the summer and beyond, the platform will provide real-time information on borders, available means of transport, travel restrictions, public health and safety measures, as well as other practical information for travellers.
- 11 June
European Investment Bank to provide BioNTech with €100 million in financing for COVID-19 vaccine development
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and immunotherapy company BioNTech SE signed a €100 million financing agreement to support the development of BNT162, the company’s COVID-19 vaccine programme. BioNTech is the first European company to enter clinical testing, having started a clinical trial in Germany in April and a further clinical trial in the United States at the beginning of May. The EIB financing is backed by both Horizon2020 InnovFin and the European Fund for Strategic Investments.
- 11 June
Commission recommends partial and gradual lifting of travel restrictions to the EU after 30 June, based on common coordinated approach
The Commission recommended to Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States to lift internal border controls by 15 June 2020 and to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU until 30 June 2020. It also set out an approach to progressively lifting the restriction afterwards.
- 10 June
Strengthening action to tackle disinformation
The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a massive wave of false or misleading information, including attempts by foreign actors to influence EU citizens and debates. In the Joint Communication, the Commission and the EU High Representative analysed the immediate response and proposed concrete actions that can be quickly set in motion to fight disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic.
- 10 June
EUR 55 million for Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon
As part of the EU's global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis has mobilised an additional EUR 55 million for refugees from Syria and vulnerable persons in Jordan and Lebanon to fight the pandemic. It will provide critical and targeted support in key areas such as health, water, sanitation and hygiene. The newly adopted package brings the total assistance mobilised through the EU Trust Fund to over EUR 2.2 billion since 2015, doubling the target originally set.
- 8 June
EU grants EUR 314 million to innovative companies to combat the virus and support recovery
The Commission has awarded nearly EUR 166 million via the European Innovation Council Accelerator Pilot to 36 companies set to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, over EUR 148 million will be granted to another 36 companies set to contribute to the Recovery plan for Europe, bringing the total investment from Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme, to EUR 314 million in this round.
- 7 June
EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo
The EU Humanitarian Air Bridge is operating three flights to the Democratic Republic of Congo, carrying on board humanitarian workers and essential supplies to help the country tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning of May, the EU has organised four other Humanitarian Air Bridge flights - three to the Central African Republic and one to São Tomé e Príncipe. Further flights are planned to Africa, but also to other regions with high humanitarian needs.
- 4 June
European Commission pledges €300 million to Gavi
On the occasion of the Global Vaccine Summit, the Commission announced a pledge of €300 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for the period 2021–2025. It will help immunise 300 million children around the world and finance vaccine stockpiles to shield against outbreaks of infectious diseases.
- 3 June
Commission takes steps to make €11.5 billion available for crisis repair and recovery in 2020
The Commission proposed modifications to its budget for 2020 to make €11.5 billion for crisis repair and recovery available already in 2020. To bridge the period until ratification of the amended Own Resources Decision, and make much needed funding available to workers, businesses and Member States already in 2020, the Commission proposed to adjust the current 2014-2020 long-term budget in order to allow for higher spending still in 2020. The proposal made on 3 June comes on top, making sure that the additional 11.5 billion for REACT-EU, the Solvency Support Instrument and European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) will become available as early as possible this year.
- 28 May
Coronavirus Global Response: launching a new campaign with support of Global Citizen
The pledging marathon that started on 4 May will now see the launch of a new campaign with the international advocacy organisation Global Citizen, “Global Goal: Unite For Our Future”, that will culminate in a Global Pledging Summit on 27 June. Together with Global Citizen, the Commission will step up the mobilisation of funding to enable the world to overcome this pandemic – and avoid another.
- 27 May
Commission presents a Recovery plan for Europe
To ensure the recovery is sustainable, even, inclusive and fair for all Member States, the European Commission has proposed to create a new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, embedded within a powerful, modern and revamped long-term EU budget. The Commission has also unveiled its adjusted Work Programme for 2020, which will prioritise the actions needed to propel Europe's recovery and resilience.
- Watch President von der Leyen present the EU Recovery package at the Plenary session of the European Parliament (27 May)
- 26 May
Council adopts temporary rules to extend the time limit for general meetings of “European companies” (SEs) and cooperatives (SCEs)
The Council adopted the Commission's proposal for a temporary derogation from the rules governing “European Companies (SEs)” and the European Cooperative Society (SCEs), only four weeks after the Commission had proposed it. The European Parliament had given its consent on 14 May. The measures will allow European Companies and the European Cooperative Societies to exceptionally hold their general meetings within twelve months of the end of the financial year, instead of within six months as provided for in the legislation.
- 20 May
EU allocates additional EUR 50 million in humanitarian aid
The Commission announced an additional EUR 50 million in humanitarian aid to help respond to the dramatic increase in humanitarian needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic globally. This funding will help vulnerable people facing major humanitarian crises, notably in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Central African Republic, the Great Lakes region in Africa, Eastern Africa, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Venezuela, as well as the Rohingya.
- 20 May
EU-funded research project brings new rapid diagnostic to the market
One of the 18 projects, which were recently selected to receive funding of EUR 48.2 million from Horizon 2020 to develop diagnostics, treatments, vaccines and preparedness actions is already delivering positive results. Researchers involved with the “HG nCoV19 test” project have obtained approval to put a new rapid point-of-care diagnostic for COVID-19 on the market. Bringing together public and private organisations from Ireland, Italy, the United Kingdom and China, the “HG nCoV19 test” project developed a new portable diagnostic system to detect viral infection that gives accurate and reliable results in 30 minutes.
- 19 May
Boosting urgently needed research and innovation
The Commission has mobilised another EUR 122 million from the Horizon 2020 programme for urgently needed research into the coronavirus. The new call for expressions of interest, open until 11 June, contributes to the Commission's EUR 1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen on 4 May 2020.
- 14 May
EU supports the Horn of Africa region
The EU is providing additional EUR 105.5 million to countries in the Horn of Africa as the coronavirus pandemic risks worsening the humanitarian situation across the region where many continue to suffer from armed conflict, displacement, and recurrent droughts and floods.
- 13 May
Guidance on safely resuming travel and rebooting Europe's tourism in 2020 and beyond
The Commission presented a set of guidelines and recommendations to help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown. As soon as the health situation allows, people should be able to catch up with friends and family, in their own EU country or across borders, with all the safety and precautionary measures needed in place. The package also aims to help the EU tourism sector, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.
- 12 May
EUR 117 million for treatments and diagnostics through the Innovative Medicines Initiative
Eight large-scale research projects, aimed at developing treatments and diagnostics for the coronavirus, were selected in a fast-track call for proposals, launched in March by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a public-private partnership.
- 8 May
EU sets up a Humanitarian Air Bridge
The European Commission has set up an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the coronavirus response to some of most critical areas around the world.
- 8 May
Commission delivers first batch of 1.5 million masks from 10 million purchased to support EU healthcare workers
1.5 million medical masks will be delivered to 17 Member States and the UK to protect healthcare workers. This 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 anticipate the needs related to the exit and recovery.
- 8 May
Commission invites Member States to extend restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 June
The Commission invited Schengen Member States and Schengen Associated States to extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for another 30 days, until 15 June. The lifting of travel restrictions should be phased: as underlined in the Joint European Roadmap on lifting containment measures, internal border controls will need to start being lifted gradually and in a coordinated manner before restrictions at the external borders can be relaxed in a second stage.
- 4 May
Coronavirus Global Response: EUR 7.4 billion raised for universal access to vaccines
The Commission registered EUR 7.4 billion, equivalent to $8 billion, in pledges from donors worldwide during the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event. This includes a pledge of EUR 1.4 billion by the Commission. This almost reaches the initial target of EUR 7.5 billion and is a solid starting point for the worldwide pledging marathon, which began on 4 May. The aim is to gather significant funding to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus.
- 2 May
rescEU masks delivered to Spain, Italy and Croatia
Following earlier delivery to Italy, more batches of FFP2 protective masks have been distributed to Spain, Italy and Croatia from rescEU - the first ever common European reserve of medical equipment set up last month to help countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
- 30 April
State aid measures
In April the Commission approved 127 State aid measures to support businesses and protect livelihoods across Europe during the coronavirus outbreak. We continue working closely with EU countries to ensure our economy can bounce back strongly after the crisis.
- 29 April
Western Balkans: EU reinforces support to address COVID-19 crisis
The European Commission announced over EUR 3.3 billion of EU financial support mobilised jointly with the European Investment Bank to the benefit of the Western Balkans' citizens. This package aims to address the immediate health and resulting humanitarian needs of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as help with the social and economic recovery.
- 28 April
Banking package to facilitate lending to households and businesses in the EU
The Commission adopted a banking package to help facilitate bank lending to households and businesses throughout the EU. The aim of this package is to ensure that banks can continue to lend money to support the economy and help mitigate the significant economic impact of the coronavirus.
- 24 April
Coronavirus Global Response: EU launches pledging effort
The EU joined forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort – the Coronavirus Global Response – starting on 4 May 2020. WHO and global health organisations have launched a joint call for action to develop fast and equitable access to safe, quality, effective and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines against coronavirus.
• Video message from President von der Leyen on the Coronavirus Global Response
- 23 April
Medical Devices Regulation
The Commission welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of the proposal on the date of application of the Medical Devices Regulation. The adopted amendment takes into consideration the need for an increased availability of vitally important medical devices across the EU, and at the same time continues to guarantee patient health and safety until the new legislation becomes applicable.
- 22 April
Macro-financial assistance package to support ten neighbouring countries
The Commission proposed a macro-financial assistance package worth EUR 3 billion for ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal comes on top of the ‘Team Europe' strategy, the EU's robust and targeted response to support partner countries' efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
- 22 April
Exceptional measures to support the agri-food sector
Additional exceptional measures were proposed to further support agricultural and food markets most affected. Among others, these are measures for private storage aid in the dairy and meat sectors, the authorisation of self-organisation market measures by operators in hard hit sectors and flexibility in fruits and vegetables, wine and some other market support programmes.
- 21 April
EU mobilises help for Italy, Croatia and neighbouring countries
Following requests for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the EU is coordinating and co-financing the delivery of aid shipments in the EU and in neighbouring countries.
- 20 April
Commission launches data sharing platform for researchers
The European Commission together with several partners launched a European COVID-19 Data Platform to enable the rapid collection and sharing of available research data. The platform, part of the ERAvsCorona Action Plan, marks another milestone in the EU's efforts to support researchers in Europe and around the world in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
- 17 April
Unique EU consular operation brought home over 500,000 EU citizens from abroad
As of 17 April, the EU has managed in an unprecedented repatriation effort to bring home over half a million of its citizens who were affected by coronavirus travel restrictions across the world. At the beginning of the outbreak, around 600,000 EU citizens declared themselves stranded outside the EU. Most of them in the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas.
- 16 April
Guidance to ensure full data protection standards of apps fighting the pandemic
The Commission published guidance on developing new apps that support the fight against coronavirus in relation to data protection. It aims to offer the framework to guarantee that citizens have sufficient protection of their personal data and limitation of intrusiveness while using such apps. This guidance is accompanying an EU toolbox on contact tracing apps, also published on 16 April.
- 16 April
Additional measures to support the agri-food sector
Two new measures were adopted to further help the agri-food sector. The measures will increase the cash flow of farmers and reduce the administrative burden both for national and regional authorities and for farmers in these particularly challenging times.
- 15 April
European roadmap shows path towards common lifting of containment measures
The Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council, put forward a European roadmap to phase-out the containment measures due to the coronavirus outbreak. The roadmap lists principles and recommendations Member States should consider when planning to lift containment measures.
- 15 April
Further steps towards safe and reliable testing
Guidelines on coronavirus testing methodologies were presented by the Commission. They aim to support Member States in effectively using testing tools in the context of their national strategies and during the different stages of the pandemic, including when phasing out confinement measures.
- 14 April
EUR 2.7 billion from the EU budget to support the EU healthcare sector
The European Commission proposed to activate the EU's Emergency Support Instrument on 2 April to directly support the Member States’ healthcare systems in their fight against the pandemic. On 14 April, the Council gave its fast approval, so that the EUR 2.7 billion instrument can immediately begin providing direct support where most needed.
- 8 April
Member States invited to prolong restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May
The Commission called for a coordinated approach to the prolongation, as action at the external borders can only be effective if implemented by all EU and Schengen States at all borders, with the same end date and in a uniform manner.
- 8 April
Supporting exit strategies through mobile data apps
The Commission recommended steps and measures to develop a common EU approach for the use of mobile applications in response to the pandemic. It set out key principles for the use of apps and data as regards data security and the respect of EU fundamental rights such as privacy and data protection.
- 8 April
Commission calls on Member States to optimise supply and availability of medicines
The Commission's guidelines to Member States focus on the rational supply, allocation and use of vital medicines to treat coronavirus patients as well as medicines which may be at risk of shortage. The proposed actions should allow for a more coordinated approach across the EU, preserving the integrity of the Single Market whilst protecting public health.
- Statement by President von der Leyen on guidelines to ensure supply and availability of medicines
- 8 April
EU global response to fight the pandemic
The European Commission and the EU High Representative set out plans for a robust and targeted EU response to support partner countries' efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The EU will secure financial support to partner countries amounting to more than EUR 15.6 billion from existing external action resources.
- Video message from President von der Leyen on the on the global EU response
- 7 April
EU medical teams deployed to Italy
A team of European doctors and nurses from Romania and Norway, deployed through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, was dispatched to Milan and Bergamo to help Italian medical staff working to battle the coronavirus. Austria has also offered over 3,000 litres of disinfectant to Italy via the Mechanism.
- 6 April
Unlocking funds for 100,000 small and medium-sized businesses
The European Commission has unlocked €1 billion from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as a guarantee to the European Investment Fund (EIF). This will allow the EIF to issue special guarantees to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-cap companies hit by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, for an estimated available financing of €8 billion.
- Message by President von der Leyen on measures to support farmers during the coronavirus crisis
- 3 April
Waiving customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment
The Commission approved requests from Member States and the UK to temporarily waive customs duties and VAT on the import of medical devices, and protective equipment, from third countries in order to help in the fight against coronavirus. This will make it easier financially to get the medical equipment that doctors, nurses and patients desperately need.
- Message by President von der Leyen on waiving customs duties and VAT on the import of medical equipment
- 3 April
Facilitating cross-border treatment of patients and deployment of medical staff
To support cross-border healthcare cooperation, the Commission issued practical guidance to Member States. Cooperation across borders can help ease the pressure on overburdened hospitals by transferring patients or sending qualified teams of medical personnel to offer assistance across borders
- 2 April
Mobilising all resources to protect lives and livelihoods
The Commission is further increasing its response by proposing to set up a EUR 100 billion solidarity instrument to help workers keep their incomes and help businesses stay afloat, called SURE. It is also proposing to redirect all available structural funds to the response to the coronavirus. On 19 May the Council adopted the proposal. The instrument will become available once all Member States provide their loan guarantees.
- Video message by President von der Leyen on an initiative to support short-time work to help the Europeans during the coronavirus crisis
- 1 April
Commission scientists develop new control material for reliable coronavirus-testing
European Commission scientists have designed new control material that laboratories can use to check the correct functioning of their coronavirus tests and to avoid false negatives.
- 31 March
Strengthening resilience in countries hosting Syrian refugees
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the EU strengthened its support for refugees from Syria and vulnerable persons in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon through a new package of almost EUR 240 million, raising the total assistance via the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis to more than EUR 2 billion.
- 30 March
EU solidarity with Western Balkans and Eastern Neighbourhood
The Commission has reallocated EUR 140 million for the most immediate needs in the Eastern Neighbourhood countries, and will redirect the use of existing instruments worth up to EUR 700 million to help mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Similarly, it announced up to EUR 38 million in immediate support for the Western Balkans to tackle the health emergency, and reallocation of EUR 374 million to help the socio-economic recovery.
- 30 March
Enabling free movement of critical workers
The Commission issued new practical advice to ensure that mobile workers within the EU, in particular those in critical occupations to fight the coronavirus pandemic, can reach their workplace. Together with the Guidance on the implementation of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, this seeks to address practical concerns of citizens and companies affected by the measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
- Video message by President von der Leyen on free movement of critical workers
- 27 March
Boosting budget for repatriation flights and RescEU stockpile
EUR 75 million from the EU budget should be made available to help Member States repatriate EU nationals and to increase the budget of the RescEU medical stockpile. Thanks to repatriation flights organised through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, almost 10,000 people have been already repatriated to Europe.
- Message by President von der Leyen on repatriation of European citizens stranded abroad (19 March)
- 26 March
Ensuring essential freight keeps moving by air
The Commission called on EU Member States to support air cargo operations during the coronavirus crisis. The new guidance recommends operational and organisational steps to keep essential transport flows moving, including medical supplies and personnel.
- 26 March
Commitment to international cooperation reaffirmed
Participating in the extraordinary G20 Leaders' videoconference, President von der Leyen and the European Council President Charles Michel underlined that the EU was committed to international cooperation in tackling the pandemic and would continue to assist vulnerable countries and communities around the world.
- 25 March
Protecting critical European assets and technology
Guidelines were issued to ensure a strong EU-wide approach to foreign investment screening in a time of public health crisis and economic vulnerability. The aim is to preserve EU companies and critical assets, in areas such as health, medical research, biotechnology and other, without undermining the EU's general openness to foreign investment.
- Video message by President von der Leyen on guidelines to protect critical European assets and technology in current crisis
- 23 March
Ensuring continuous flow of goods across EU via green lanes
New practical advice was issued on implementing Guidelines for border management, in order to keep freight moving across the EU during the pandemic. Member States are requested to designate all the relevant internal border-crossing points on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) as ‘green lane' border crossings. They should be open to all freight vehicles, whatever goods they are carrying.
- Video message from President von der Leyen on guidelines to set up ‘green lanes’
- 20 March
Activating fiscal framework's general escape clause to respond to pandemic
The Commission proposed the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact. Once endorsed by the Council, it will allow Member States to undertake measures to deal adequately with the crisis, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework.
- Video message by President von der Leyen on further measures to support the economy
- 20 March
European standards for medical supplies made freely available
The European Committee for Standardization and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization made available a number of European standards for certain medical devices and personal protective equipment. This action will help both EU and third-country companies to swiftly start production and place products on the internal market more easily while ensuring a high degree of safety.
- 19 March
First ever RescEU stockpile of medical equipment
The Commission decided to create a strategic RescEU stockpile of medical equipment such as ventilators and protective masks to help EU countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 19 March
Temporary framework to further support the economy
By 31 March, the Commission already approved several schemes based on the Temporary Framework worth several hundred billions of euros to support Member States’ economies face the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. It took 18 decisions approving 27 national measures.
- 18 March
Protecting passenger rights
The Commission published guidelines to ensure EU passenger rights are protected and applied in a coherent manner across the EU, in light of the mass cancellations and delays.
- 17 March
Commission launches European team of scientific experts
An advisory panel on COVID-19 composed of epidemiologists and virologists from different Member States is brought together to formulate EU guidelines on science-based and coordinated risk management measures.
- Statement by President von der Leyen on the latest measures to address the Coronavirus
- 16 March
Protecting health and keeping goods and essential services available
The Commission presented guidelines to Member States on health-related border management measures. The aim is to protect citizens' health, ensure the right treatment of people who do have to travel, and make sure essential goods and services remain available.
- Video message from President von der Leyen on health-related border management measures
- 16 March
EU funding offered to innovative vaccines company CureVac
The Commission offered up to EUR 80 million of financial support to CureVac, a highly innovative vaccine developer from Tübingen, Germany, to scale up development and production of a vaccine against the coronavirus in Europe.
- 15 March
Ensuring supply of personal protective equipment in the EU
The Commission took steps to protect the availability of supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), by requiring that exports of such equipment outside of the European Union are subject to an export authorisation by Member States.
- Video message from President von der Leyen on the European response to the coronavirus
- 13 March
Setting out coordinated response to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus
The Commission presented an immediate response to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, centred on a European coordinated response, and via a range of tools, e.g. State aid, flexibility of the European fiscal framework, liquidity to the banking sector, EU budget, and more. ENTRY INTO FORCE 1 April 2020.
- 10 March
Easing impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the aviation industry and the environment
Targeted legislation was announced to temporarily alleviate airlines from their airport slot usage obligations under EU law. This would release pressure on the aviation industry, and also decrease emissions by avoiding so-called ‘ghost flights' where airlines fly almost empty aircraft to keep their slots. ENTRY INTO FORCE 1 April 2020.
- 10 March
Corona Response Investment Initiative
During EU leaders' videoconference on the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commission received a mandate to further step up its response to the coronavirus, and coordinate Member State actions. President von der Leyen announced a “Corona Response Investment Initiative” that should enable around EUR 60 billion of unused cohesion policy funds to be redirected to the fight against the coronavirus. ENTRY INTO FORCE 1 April 2020.
- 6 March
Stepping up research and funding to address the coronavirus
The Commission scaled up the emergency call launched in January to fight the COVID-19 outbreak. On 31 March, the Commission decided to support 1 additional project bringing the number of supported projects up to 18. They involve 140 research teams from across EU and beyond, and are funded with a total budget of EUR 48,5 million from Horizon 2020.
- 2 March
- 28 February
Procuring medical equipment jointly with Member States
The first out of four joint procurements of personal protective equipment was launched together with Member States. This turns the EU into one big buyer, encouraging suppliers to move quickly at scale and provide the maximum equipment possible at the best price. As of 24 March, producers have made offers covering, and in some cases even exceeding, the quantities requested.
- 24 February
Supporting global efforts to tackle the outbreak
To boost global preparedness, prevention and containment of the virus the Commission announced a new aid package worth EUR 232 million. The Commission has also stepped up its support to Member States in the context of the work on preparedness, contingency and response planning.
- 23 February
In solidarity with China, EU delivers additional protective equipment
The Commission co-financed the delivery of more than 25 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China after the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated. This is in addition to over 30 tonnes of protective equipment mobilised by EU Member States and already delivered in February 2020.
- 1-2 February
EU citizens brought home
The first repatriations by air from France and Germany, co-financed by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, brought home 447 European citizens, from Wuhan. The European Commission works on all fronts to support efforts to fight the coronavirus, helping Member States to repatriate their citizens and providing emergency services to China.
- 1 February
First aid delivered to China
As an immediate first response, EU Member States mobilised and delivered a total of 12 tons of protective equipment to China.
- 31 January
First funds mobilised for research on the new coronavirus outbreak
EUR 10 million are granted from the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, to support research into the new coronavirus disease. The Commission launched an emergency request for expressions of interest for research projects.
- 28 January
EU civil protection mechanism activated for the repatriation of EU citizens
As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus intensifies, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated following a request for assistance from France to provide consular support to EU citizens in Wuhan, China.
The first European case was reported from France on 24 January 2020.
17 January: The Health Security Committee held their first meeting on the novel coronavirus.
9 January: Directorate General for Health and Safety (DG SANTE) opened an alert notification on the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) where most Member States have since been sharing information on response and communication measures.