The top priority is not only to protect everyone’s health and safety but also to lessen the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and support employment.
The EU is mobilising the full range of resources available to it to help its Member States to coordinate their national responses. In particular, it is providing objective information on the spread of the virus and the efforts which have been effective in containing it.
EU leaders have agreed a number of priorities for a coordinated EU response to COVID-19:
- limiting the spread of the virus,
- ensuring the supply of medical equipment,
- promoting research to develop treatments and vaccines, and
- supporting jobs, businesses and the economy.
The following are just some of the actions the EU had already taken by early May 2020. It had:
- put forward a €540 billion package to support Member States,
- made €140 million available to develop vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical systems,
- made €164 million available for SMEs and start-ups with a view to finding innovative solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,
- repatriated over 530,000 European Union citizens who were trapped in countries outside the European Union,
- developed the SURE scheme to help save jobs: the European Commission is proposing temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency, with the aim of helping people keep their jobs during the crisis,
- adopted a banking package to facilitate bank lending to households and businesses across the EU,
- adopted specific measures to help certain professions hit hard by the crisis and to minimise the effects of the pandemic on the EU’s most disadvantaged citizens by increasing the reach of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, and
- organised an international pledging marathon to enable diagnostic tools, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus to be developed collaboratively and deployed universally.