• Frances Fitzgerald

EU Response to COVID-19 - Fitzgerald

Although healthcare is a national competence, the EU has announced a range of measures to help Member States deal with the Coronavirus. Obviously, this will not be enough on its own but EU solidarity is absolutely crucial at the moment and we need strong coordination between Member States. The EU needs to continue to act and in a speedy manner. We need all tools and instruments at our disposal in this most testing time.


Here are some of the measures that the EU has taken up to now:


· European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen on 13 March set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.


· EU Member States agreed a ban on all nonessential travel into Europe for 30 days.


· The European Central Bank launched a massive €750 billion programme of bond buying to inject capital into the Eurozone economy to help governments deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus.


· The European Investment Bank mobilised 40 billion euros to help tackle the Coronavirus crisis in cooperation with the European Commission, EU Member States & local partners which will support the healthcare sector and companies.


· The Commission launched an accelerated joint procurement procedure with 26 Member States to ensure adequate supply of protective equipment across Europe.


· EUR 1 billion will be made available from the EU budget to support hard-hit SMEs across Europe.


· The Commission is proposing to extend the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund to be able to provide 800 million for this public health crisis.


· Flexibility will be applied to EU state aid rules and fiscal rules to allow Member States to deal with the crisis.


· An EU advisory panel on COVID-19 composed of epidemiologists and virologists from different Member States to formulate EU guidelines on science-based and coordinated risk management measures.


· Funding has been provided to vaccine developers in Europe to scale up development and production of a vaccine against the Coronavirus.


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