EU Solidarity Fund for COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

EU countries and those in the process of joining the EU, affected by a major public health emergency, should apply for support from the EUSF within 12 weeks of the date on which the public authorities took the first official action against the emergency (e.g. declaration of the state of emergency).
In order to ensure an equitable treatment of all applications, eligible countries may submit a preliminary application (e.g. by way of an official letter containing basic information) by the official deadline and, then, send updates/full information, as requested in the application form, by 24 June 2020 (i.e. within 12 weeks of the entry into force of the amended Regulation). After that date, the Commission will assess all applications jointly. There will be no “first come first served”.

A country is eligible for EUSF assistance in respect to a major health emergency if its eligible public expenditure for response measures amounts to over EUR 1.5 billion (2011 prices) corresponding to 1.79 billion in 2020 prices, or more than 0.3 % of its GNI, whichever is lower.
For the applicable thresholds by country, see table.

Applicants must use the mandatory health emergencies application form (below). This ensures that applications are readily comparable and speeds up processing.

  • Health emergencies application form (Last update: 01-04-2020) Word en
  • Guidelines for health emergencies (Last update: 01-04-2020) Word en
  • Thresholds for major health emergencies PDF en
  • Guidance on implementation, closure and auditing processes PDF en

Sections 6, 14 and 15 refer to the same expenditure, i.e. the total public expenditure for emergency response measures to support the population and limiting the spread of the disease during the four months following the starting date (declared in reference number 3). Total amounts should be the same in each case. Expenditure for measures supporting businesses or the labour market, as well as guarantees, state income losses and other indirect costs should not be included in any of the three sections.
In Section 15 please provide a more detailed breakdown of the total expenditure listed under Section 6 and Section 14.

Annex 2 should present the breakdown of eligible expenditure listed in Section 15 in tabular form in Euros and, where applicable, in national currency. Please also indicate the source of the expenditure (national or regional budget etc).
There is no template available since a single form may not fit the specificities of every single country.

ELIGIBLE OPERATIONS

Eligible operations will include all types of assistance to the population (medical and other) and all measures taken to contain the spreading of the disease, such as (non-exhaustive list):

  • Medical assistance, including medicines, equipment and medical devices, costs of healthcare or civil protection infrastructure
  • Laboratory analyses
  • Extraordinary measures and extra costs in health and medical care associated with the COVID-19 virus
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Special assistance to the population, especially to vulnerable groups (elderly, people with health problems, pregnant women, single working parents….)
  • Special support to keep medical and other emergency services personnel operational
  • Development of vaccines or medicines
  • Strengthening preparedness planning capacity and related communication
  • Improving risk assessment and management
  • Sanitation of buildings and facilities
  • Health checks, including at the borders,
  • and all related additional personnel costs

This expenditure should be additional and directly linked to the emergency. Double financing of the same operation with other EU instruments is not permitted.

Expenditure is eligible from the start of the emergency (first official action against the emergency) during a period of 4 months. If the 4-month period expires after the final deadline for the submission of the full application form (24 June 2020), the total expenditure may include a part of actual expenditure (up to the date of submission) and a part of projected expenditure.
Repatriation costs are in principle NOT eligible. Their primary purpose is not health related and do not fall under the most important emergency operations as called for in recital 7 of the Regulation.  Nonetheless, the cost of health checks done upon arrival in the home country and, if applicable, the cost of quarantine are eligible.
Measures to support businesses and the labour market are NOT eligible. In general, the primary purpose of an expenditure for being eligible must be health related.
Expenditure of businesses (independent of the ownership) is eligible only if their Covid-19 related operations are not financed by their normal budget but by an additional contribution from the public authorities. This contribution must be made independent of the aid paid to the Member State by the Solidarity Fund.
Donations made by a country to another country, whether in kind or in money, are NOT eligible. EUSF aid is intended as support to countries in order to help them cope with the financial burden inflicted on them by emergency costs. Donations made have the opposite effect and benefit other countries. If they were accepted they would be (partly) rolled over to the EU budget which is not the purpose of the Solidarity Fund.
Contributions to the development of vaccines are in the list of the eligible operations in the Regulation.
Tax revenue losses, guarantees or similar are NOT eligible. Only real (positive) expenditure made or projected during the 4 months following the start of the emergency (date of the first official action) is accepted.
As established in the EUSF Regulation, Art3(4), VAT is NOT eligible, unless it is non-recoverable under national VAT legislation.
Import duties are NOT eligible either. In fact, import duties on merchandise from third countries constitute a State revenue and offset the related cost if the equipment is bought by a public authority.

EVALUATION AND PAYMENT

After the deadline of 24 June 2020, the Commission will assess all applications received and respecting the eligibility criteria in a single package. On that basis the Commission will then propose the mobilisation of the Solidarity Fund to the European Parliament and the Council, including proposed aid amounts for every country, together with a financial proposal (draft amending budget). The aid can be paid out once EP and Council have approve the mobilisation and made the budgetary appropriations available.

For determining individual aid amounts, the Commission will apply the same method as for natural disasters:

  • 2.5% of the total amount of eligible public expenditure up to the country-specific threshold for major health emergencies, plus
  • 6% of the part of the public expenditure exceeding the threshold.

This method ensures that the relative capacity of a State to deal itself with a disaster is taken into account. It also ensures that, for the same financial burden, relatively poorer countries receive more aid in absolute terms than richer ones.
Should this calculation lead to a cumulated amount for all countries exceeding the available budget appropriations, the Commission intends reducing the individual amounts per country on a pro rata basis. (Other options are still being examined). As all Covid-19 related applications will be dealt with in a single package, there will be no “first come, first served” payments.

At the moment of adoption of the amended EUSF regulation (March 2020), the budget still available for 2020 was approximately 800 million. This included the annual allocation, plus the carry-over from 2019, minus the amounts earmarked for four pending applications from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria and 70 million euros put aside as a reserve for two planned applications from Spain, for storm Gloria, and Croatia, for the recent earthquake in Zagreb.
The EUSF Regulation establishes that, upon receiving an application, the Commission may decide to pay an advance up to 25% of the estimated aid amount, and in any case not superior to €100 million. Given the limited appropriations for advance payment still available for 2020, and in order not to delay the assessment process and the disbursement of the full aid amounts, the Commission is examining the other solutions.

Annex

EUSF thresholds 2020 for major health emergencies

(based on Eurostat figures for 2018 Gross National Income)
For the mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund country-specific thresholds apply.
For natural disasters total direct damage must exceed 0,6% of GNI or € 3 billion in 2011 prices.
For major public health emergencies total public expenditure related to the crisis must exceed 0,3% of GNI or € 1,5 billion in 2011 prices.
In both cases the lower amount applies.

(million EUR)

 

 

GNI 2018

0.6% of GNI

Natural disaster
threshold 2020

0.3% of GNI

Health crisis
threshold 2020

AT

ÖSTERREICH

384 653

2 307.918

2 307.918

1 153.959

1 153.959

BE

BELGIË/BELGIQUE

462 774

2 776.644

2 776.644

1 388.322

1 388.322

BG

BULGARIA

56 570

339.420

339.420

169.710

169.710

CY

KYPROS

20 388

122.328

122.328

61.164

61.164

CZ

ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA

196 199

1 177.194

1 177.194

588.597

588.597

DE

DEUTSCHLAND

3 437 908

20 627.448

3 585.278

10 313.724

1 792.639

DK

DANMARK

305 366

1 832.196

1 832.196

916.098

916.098

EE

EESTI

25 549

153.294

153.294

76.647

76.647

EL

ELLADA

183 740

1 102.440

1 102.440

551.220

551.220

ES

ESPAÑA

1 204 894

7 229.364

7 229.364

3 614.682

1 792.639

FI

SUOMI/FI

235 241

1 411.446

1 411.446

705.723

705.723

FR

FRANCE

2 406 070

14 436.420

3 585.278

7 218.210

1 792.639

HR

HRVATSKA

50 546

303.276

303.276

151.638

151.638

HU

MAGYARORSZÁG

128 421

770.526

770.526

385.263

385.263

IE

ÉIRE/IE

254 307

1 525.842

1 525.842

762.921

762.921

IT

ITALIA

1 784 620

10 707.720

3 585.278

5 353.860

1 792.639

LT

LIETUVA

43 811

262.866

262.866

131.433

131.433

LU

LUXEMBOURG (G D )

38 256

229.536

229.536

114.768

114.768

LV

LATVIJA

28 649

171.894

171.894

85.947

85.947

MT

MALTA

11 355

68.130

68.130

34.065

34.065

NL

NEDERLAND

781 718

4 690.308

3 585.278

2 345.154

1 792.639

PL

POLSKA

476 858

2 861.148

2 861.148

1 430.574

1 430.574

PT

PORTUGAL

199 411

1 196.466

1 196.466

598.233

598.233

RO

ROMÂNIA

198 675

1 192.050

1 192.050

596.025

596.025

SE

SVERIGE

478 524

2 871.144

2 871.144

1 435.572

1 435.572

SK

SLOVENSKO

88 303

529.818

529.818

264.909

264.909

SI

SLOVENIJA

45 034

270.204

270.204

135.102

135.102

UK

UNITED KINGDOM

2 386 586

14 319.516

3 585.278

7 159.758

1 792.639

ME

MONTENEGRO

4 718

28.308

28.308

14.154

14.154

TR

TÜRKIYE

743 610

4 461.660

3 585.278

2 230.830

1 792.639

RS

SRBIJA

40 642

243.852

243.852

121.926

121.926

AL

ALBANIA

12 779

76.674

76.674

38.337

38.337

MK

NORTH MACEDONIA

10 284

61.704

61.704

30.852

30.852