global, multilateral and EU-related measures to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences

eu’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

LAST UPDATED 3 JUNE

21 may

State aid: Commission approves €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak
 

The European Commission has approved a €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme to support the Italian economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020.


Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The €9 billion Italian “umbrella” scheme will enable support to companies of all sizes by Italy's regions, the autonomous provinces, other territorial bodies and Chambers of commerce.”


Under the scheme, public support can be granted through:

 

  • Direct grants, guarantees on loans and subsidised interest rates for loans.

  • Aid for coronavirus-related research and development (R&D), for the construction and upscaling of facilities to develop and test coronavirus-relevant products, and for the production of coronavirus-related products, such as vaccines, medical products, treatments and devices, disinfectants and protective clothing, active pharmaceutical ingredients and active substances used for disinfectants.

  • Wage subsidies for employees to avoid lay-offs during the coronavirus outbreak.    

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_925

20 may

Reinforcing Europe's resilience: halting biodiversity loss and building a healthy and sustainable food system | 20
 

In line with the European Green Deal, they propose ambitious EU actions and commitments to halt biodiversity loss in Europe and worldwide and transform our food systems into global standards for competitive sustainability, the protection of human and planetary health, as well as the livelihoods of all actors in the food value chain. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated how vulnerable the increasing biodiversity loss makes us and how crucial a well-functioning food system is for our society. The two strategies put the citizen at the centre, by committing to increase the protection of land and sea, restoring degraded ecosystems and establishing the EU as a leader on the international stage both on the protection of biodiversity and on building a sustainable food chain.


The new Biodiversity Strategy tackles the key drivers of biodiversity loss, such as unsustainable use of land and sea, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and invasive alien species. Adopted in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategy is a central element of the EU's recovery plan, crucial to preventing and building resilience to future outbreaks and providing immediate business and investment opportunities for restoring the EU's economy. It also aims to make biodiversity considerations an integral part of EU's overall economic growth strategy. The strategy proposes to, among others, establish binding targets to restore damaged ecosystems and rivers, improve the health of EU protected habitats and species, bring back pollinators to agricultural land, reduce pollution, green our cities, enhance organic farming and other biodiversity-friendly farming practices, and improve the health of European forests. The strategy brings forward concrete steps to put Europe's biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030, including transforming at least 30% of Europe's lands and seas into effectively managed protected areas and bringing back at least 10% of agricultural area under high-diversity landscape features.


Next steps

  • The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to endorse these two strategies and its commitments.All citizens and stakeholders are invited to engage in a broad public debate.

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_884

20 may

European Semester Spring Package: Recommendations for a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic
 

The Commission has proposed today country-specific recommendations (CSRs) providing economic policy guidance to all EU Member States in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, focused on the most urgent challenges brought about by the pandemic and on relaunching sustainable growth.


The recommendations are structured around two objectives: 

 

  1. in the short-term, mitigating the coronavirus pandemic's severe negative socio-economic consequences; 

  2. and in the short to medium-term, achieving sustainable and inclusive growth which facilitates the green transition and the digital transformation.

 

Next steps

  • A coordinated European economic response is crucial to relaunch economic activity, mitigate damage to the economic and social fabric, and to reduce divergences and imbalances. The European Semester of economic and employment policy coordination therefore constitutes a crucial element of the recovery strategy.

  • Against this background, the Commission calls on the Council to adopt these country-specific recommendations and on Member States to implement them fully and in a timely manner.

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_901

20 may

Coronavirus global response: EU allocates additional €50 million in humanitarian aid
 

Today the European Commission announced an additional €50 million in humanitarian aid to help respond to the dramatic increase in humanitarian needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic globally. The new funding follows increased appeals by humanitarian organisations, including the UN Global Appeal.

 

  • In February 2020, €30 million was allocated to the World Health Organization. Since then, the Commission has, subject to the agreement of the EU budgetary authorities, planned around €76 million to programmes included in the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan. In addition, the Commission is providing direct funding for the work of humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, which are in the frontline of the humanitarian response to Coronavirus.

  • EU Humanitarian Air Bridge: On 8 May, the Commission also announced the establishment of an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the Coronavirus response to some of the most critically affected areas around the world. The first flight on 8 May, operated in cooperation with France, transported around 60 humanitarian workers from various NGOs and UN agencies and 13 tonnes of humanitarian cargo to Bangui in the Central African Republic. Two subsequent humanitarian cargo flights to Central African Republic will transport a further 27 tonnes of humanitarian supplies in total. On 15 May, on the second destination of the EU humanitarian air bridge, 20 tons of supplies and humanitarian and health workers were flown to the West-African country of São Tomé and Principe. The flight was set-up in cooperation with the Portuguese government and several humanitarian partner organisations. On their return leg, the flight also brought back over 200 EU citizens and other passengers to Lisbon in a repatriation effort.


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_905

19 may

Coronavirus: Commission boosts urgently needed research and innovation with additional €122 million
 

The Commission has mobilised another €122 million from its research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, for urgently needed research into the coronavirus. The new call for expressions of interest contributes to the Commission's €1.4 billion pledge to the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, launched by President Ursula von der Leyen on 4 May 2020.


The projects funded under this call should repurpose manufacturing for rapid production of vital medical supplies and equipment needed for testing, treatment and prevention, as well as develop medical technologies and digital tools to improve detection, surveillance and patients care. New research will learn from large groups of patients (cohorts) across Europe and better understanding of the behavioural and socio-economic impacts of the coronavirus epidemic could help improve treatment and prevention strategies.


The deadline for submission is 11 June 2020, while the call will focus on delivering results quickly. Europe, and the world at large, urgently need innovative solutions to contain and mitigate the outbreak, and to better care for patients, survivors, vulnerable groups, frontline health care staff and their communities. This is why the Commission aims to enable research work to start as quickly as possible through shorter timelines for the preparation of expressions of interest and for their evaluation.


The new solutions need to be available and affordable for all, in line with the principles of the Coronavirus Global Response. For this purpose, the Commission will include rapid data-sharing clauses in grant agreements, resulting from this new call, to ensure that findings and outcomes can be put to use immediately.


The new call will cover five areas with the following indicative budgets:

 

  • Repurposing of manufacturing for vital medical supplies and equipment (€23 million)

  • Medical technologies, Digital tools and Artificial Intelligence analytics to improve surveillance and care at high Technology Readiness Levels (€56 million)

  • Behavioural, social and economic impacts of the outbreak responses (€20 million)

  • Pan-European COVID-19 cohorts (€20 million)

  • Collaboration of existing EU and international cohorts of relevance to COVID-19 (€3 million)

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_887

19 may

Coronavirus: Commission welcomes Council adoption of €100 billion SURE instrument
 

The European Commission warmly welcomes the agreement between Member States in the Council on the regulation establishing the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE).


Today's decision is an important step in the EU's joint fight against the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Financial support to Member States under SURE will become available once all Member States have voluntarily committed and signed their guarantee agreements with the Commission. Once this has happened, SURE will become operational and the EU will be able to support Member States in protecting the jobs and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic by providing up to €100 billion in loans on favourable terms.


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/mex_20_904#2

13 may

Tourism and transport: Commission's guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot Europe's tourism in 2020 and beyond*
 

The Commission's Tourism and Transport package includes:

  • An overall strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond;

  • A common approach to restoring free movement and lifting restrictions at EU internal borders in a gradual and coordinated way;

  • A framework to support the gradual re-establishment of transport whilst ensuring the safety of passengers and personnel;

  • A recommendation which aims to make travel vouchers an attractive alternative to cash reimbursement for consumers;

  • Criteria for restoring tourism activities safely and gradually and for developing health protocols for hospitality establishments such as hotels.

 

For tourists and travellers

  • Safely restoring freedom of movement and lifting internal border controls:

  • epidemiological, notably focusing on areas where situation is improving, based on guidance by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and using the regional map developed by the ECDC;

  • the ability to apply containment measures throughout the whole journey including at border crossings, including additional safeguards and measures where physical distancing may be difficult to ensure and

  • economic and social considerations, initially prioritising cross-border movement in key areas of activity and including personal reasons.

  • principle of non-discrimination

  • Restoring transport services across the EU while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers:

  • Safely resuming tourism services:

  • Ensuring cross-border interoperability of tracing apps:

  • Making vouchers a more attractive option for consumers:

 

For tourism businesses

  • Ensuring liquidity for tourism businesses, in particular SMEs, through:

  • Saving jobs with up to €100 billion in financial relief from the SURE programme:

  • Connecting citizens to local tourism offer, promoting local attractions and tourism and Europe as a safe tourist destination:

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_854

12 may

​Coronavirus: €117 million granted for treatments and diagnostics through the Innovative Medicines Initiative
 

The Commission announced today that 8 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 (IMI), a public-private partnership.


In order to fund a larger number of high-quality proposals, the Commission increased its commitment to €72 million (up from the originally planned €45 million) from Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. €45 million will be provided by the pharmaceutical industry, IMI associated partners and other organisations involved with the projects, bringing the total investment to €117 million.


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_837
 

12 may

State aid: Commission approves:
 

  • €25 million Belgian aid scheme to support coronavirus related research and development activities in Wallonia

  • €322 million Croatian loan guarantees and subsidised loans scheme for micro, small and medium-sized companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

  • €1.5 million Latvian scheme to support companies active in the agricultural sector affected by coronavirus outbreak

  • €11.5 million Maltese scheme to support investments in the production of coronavirus-relevant products

  • compensation for early closure of coal fired power plant in the Netherlands

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/home/en

Commission publishes guidance on coronavirus-related humanitarian aid to Syria despite sanctions

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_831

12 may

12 may

Coronavirus: €117 million granted for treatments and diagnostics through the Innovative Medicines Initiative
 

The Commission announced today that 8 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 (IMI), a public-private partnership.


In order to fund a larger number of high-quality proposals, the Commission increased its commitment to €72 million (up from the originally planned €45 million) from Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. €45 million will be provided by the pharmaceutical industry, IMI associated partners and other organisations involved with the projects, bringing the total investment to €117 million.


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_837

11 may

Commission launches the Fit for Future Platform and invites experts to join
 

The European Commission has today launched the Fit for Future Platform – a high-level expert group, which will help the Commission simplify existing EU laws and reduce administrative burden for citizens and businesses. It will also help ensure that EU legislation remains future-proof, given the need to tackle new challenges, such as digitalisation.


https://europeansting.com/2020/05/11/commission-launches-the-fit-for-future-platform-and-invites-experts-to-join/

11 may

State aid: Commission approves

 

  • French guarantee scheme for exporting small and midsize companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

  • €450 million Polish scheme to support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

  • €500 million Greek scheme to support the self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak

  • €10.3 billion UK scheme to support self-employed individuals and members of partnerships during the coronavirus outbreak


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/home/en

8 may

Coronavirus Global Response: 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.


Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, is travelling today to Bangui on the first flight and will meet H.E. Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic, as well as humanitarian organisations.

 

How the Humanitarian Air Bridge works

  • In a joint effort between the Commission and Member States, the Commission funds air transport of Member States' flights to and from the proposed destinations, where possible combined with ongoing repatriation flights, also including humanitarian workers on rotation.

  • Humanitarian staff from national administrations, NGOs or UN Agencies can benefit from the facility.

  • The Commission finances 100% of the transport costs, whereas the EU partners remain responsible for the procurement of the humanitarian material.


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_813

Coronavirus: Commission delivers first batch of 1.5 million masks from 10 million purchased to support EU healthcare workers

Over the coming days, 1.5 million medical masks will be delivered to 17 Member States and the UK to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus. This latest EU mask delivery 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.


The Emergency Support Instrument allows direct support to EU Member States in their efforts to address the pandemic through measures that can deliver greater impact if taken at EU level. It does not replace existing instruments (joint procurement, rescEU, etc.) but complements them.


This will allow the Commission to support a wide range of initiatives, including:

 

  • purchasing medical equipment such as ventilators and masks;

  • coordinating and financially supporting the transport of patients to EU Member States with spare hospital capacity;

  • contributing to increase the rollout and testing across the EU;

  • supporting the deployment of vaccines, some of which might be the result of significant support under other EU initiatives.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_819

8 may

6 may

Spring 2020 Economic Forecast: A deep and uneven recession, an uncertain recovery
 

The coronavirus pandemic represents a major shock for the global and EU economies, with very severe socio-economic consequences. Despite the swift and comprehensive policy response at both EU and national level, the EU economy will experience a recession of historic proportions this year.


The Spring 2020 Economic Forecast projects that the euro area economy will contract by a record 7¾% in 2020 and grow by 6¼% in 2021. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 7½% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021. Growth projections for the EU and euro area have been revised down by around nine percentage points compared to the Autumn 2019 Economic Forecast.


https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/economic-performance-and-forecasts/economic-forecasts/autumn-2019-economic-forecast-challenging-road-ahead_en


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_799

6 may

Covid-19: emergency measures to help EU farmers and fishermen
 

EU countries will be able to provide support to:

  • Fishermen for the temporary cessation of fishing activities

  • Aquaculture farmers for the temporary suspension or reduction of production

  • Producer organisations for the temporary storage of fishery and aquaculture products

 

How is the EU helping farmers?


On 15 April Parliament’s agriculture committee welcomed the Commission's plans to help the agri-food sector, but called for more targeted action, including market measures such as private storage. MEPs also called for the activation of the crisis reserve to help struggling agricultural sectors and said EU farm policy will need adequate long-term budget support in the post-Covid period.


Among the measures are the reallocation of unused agriculture funds to fight the effects of the crisis in rural areas. A more flexible and simplified European agriculture fund for rural development will allow for loans or guarantees at favourable conditions such as very low interest rates or favourable payment schedules to cover operational costs of up to €200,000.

 

The Commission has also proposed to cut the number of physical on-farm checks, to extend the deadline for farmers to apply for direct payments and rural development payments by one month to 15 June 2020 and to increase the advances of these payments from mid-October.


https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/eu-response-to-coronavirus/20200416STO77203/covid-19-emergency-measures-to-help-eu-farmers-and-fishermen

6 may

European Parliament | Supporting the EU’s cultural sector through Covid-19

MEPs underlined the special nature of the creative sector and the difficulties faced by artists and called on the EU to provide support in a resolution adopted on 17 April.


MEPs have written a letter to Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner; and Mariya Gabriel, Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner, in which they call for:

 

  • Protecting artists who may not qualify for national support schemes through the Creative Europe programme

  • Making sure EU funds reach the sector by increasing funding for Creative Europe

  • Creating an ad hoc financial instrument under the European Investment Fund to channel funds to the sector

 

During a discussion with the culture Committee on 4 May, Commissioners Gabriel and Breton told MEPs that an EU support plan for the cultural and creative sectors was being prepared, within the scope of the larger EU recovery plan. In addition to the EU increasing the flexibility of current programmes and structural funds, direct support measures are also under consideration.


The Commission also supported the launch of a new platform - Creatives Unite - a space for the cultural and creative sector to share information about initiatives responding to the coronavirus crisis.


https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/priorities/eu-response-to-coronavirus/20200423STO77704/supporting-the-eu-s-cultural-sector-through-covid-19


https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0054_EN.html

4 may

Coronavirus Global Response: €7.4 billion raised for universal access to vaccines

 

The Commission registered €7.4 billion, equivalent to $8 billion, in pledges from donors worldwide during the Coronavirus Global Response pledging event. This includes a pledge of €1.4 billion by the Commission. This almost reaches the initial target of €7.5 billion and is a solid starting point for the worldwide pledging marathon, which begins today. The aim is to gather significant funding to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus.


The pledging event was co-convened by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy (also incoming G20 presidency), Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (also holding the G20 presidency), Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. The initiative is a response to the call from the World Health Organization (WHO) and a group of health actors for a global collaboration for the accelerated development, production and equitable global access to new coronavirus essential health technologies. The Coronavirus Global Response Initiative is comprised of three partnerships for testing, treating and preventing underpinned by health systems strengthening.


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_797?utm_campaign=59b7d20894a326107700117f&utm_content=5eb048e6eea8090001ead2fd&utm_medium=smarpshare&utm_source=generic

24 april

Von der Leyen announces Global Response and calls for united world front against coronavirus

 

European Commission: The only way to defeat the coronavirus is by working together around the world.
She announced the EU was joining forces with global partners to kick-start a pledging effort – the Coronavirus Global Response – on 4 May 2020. “The aim is to raise EUR 7.5 billion to ramp up work on prevention, diagnostics and treatment. This is a first step only, but more will be needed in the future. Because beating coronavirus will require sustained actions on many fronts,” she said.


The Coronavirus Global Response has two main aims. Firstly, to rally global support and attract financial contributions to bridge the funding gap, and secondly, to secure a high-level political commitment to ensuring equitable access to therapeutics and vaccines, leaving no-one behind.

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/AC_20_749
https://www.facebook.com/events/1106094103100319/

22 april

Coronavirus: European Commission proposes €3 billion macro-financial assistance package to support ten neighbouring countries

 

The Commission has adopted a proposal for a €3 billion macro-financial assistance (MFA) package to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them to 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. It represents an important demonstration of the EU's solidarity with these countries at a time of unprecedented crisis.


The proposal, following a preliminary assessment of financing needs, provides for the MFA funds to be distributed as follows: the Republic of Albania (€180 million), Bosnia and Herzegovina (€250 million), Georgia (€150 million), the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (€200 million), Kosovo (€100 million), the Republic of Moldova (€100 million), Montenegro (€60 million), the Republic of North Macedonia (€160 million), the Republic of Tunisia (€600 million) and Ukraine (€1.2 billion).


https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_716

14 april

€37 billion from EU budget made available to EU countries
The EU took swift action and fast-tracked the allocation of available funds from the EU budget in 2020 to the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.

The funds are immediately available for member states and can be used to support healthcare systems and citizens in their fight against the COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences.

The Council adopted by written procedure two amendments to the EU 2020 budget, to make available an additional €3.1 billion in funds to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

This additional budget will be used to:

  • purchase and distribute medical supplies, including protective gear and ventilators

  • boost the production of testing kits

  • build field hospitals

  • transfer patients for treatment in other member states

  • repatriate EU citizens stranded abroad

NEXT STEPS:

During its plenary on 16-17 April 2020, the European Parliament is expected to agree its position on the two draft amending budget proposals. Once there is an agreement, the budget will be adopted. The European Parliament will also agree its position on the three proposals on the special financial instruments.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/04/14/tackling-covid-19-council-adopts-amended-eu-budget-for-2020/

EEAS

“Team Europe” - Global EU Response to Covid-19 supporting partner countries and fragile populations

 

The coronavirus has not only Europe but the entire global community in its grip and is the world’s common enemy. An enemy we can only defeat with a global approach and cross-border coordination. And while we have to mobilise all our resources to fight the virus at home, now is also the time to look beyond our borders, most specifically at our sister continent Africa and the Southern Neighbourhood, as well as at the Western Balkans, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Because solidarity cannot be an empty word and also because for as long as the virus will not be eradicated everywhere, it will remain a threat to all of us.


https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/77470/%E2%80%9Cteam-europe%E2%80%9D-global-eu-response-covid-19-supporting-partner-countries-and-fragile-populations_en

11 april

9 April

Eurogroup puts forward €500 billion support package
 

The Eurogroup met via video conference to draw up a package of response measures to present to EU leaders.

The report proposes three immediate safety nets for workers, businesses and member states. It also prepares the ground for a recovery fund to relaunch the economy and ensure EU solidarity with the member states most affected by COVID-19. 

 

"Today, we agreed upon three safety nets and a plan for the recovery, to ensure we grow together, not apart, once the virus is behind us. These proposals build on our collective financial strength and European solidarity."

Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup

Coordinated actions taken so far at the level of the Member States, the EU and the euro area (EXTRACTS)

  1. To date, the aggregate amount of Member States’ discretionary fiscal measures amounts to 3% of EU GDP, a threefold increase since 16 March, on top of the significant impact of automatic stabilisers.

  2. Member States have so far committed to provide liquidity support for sectors facing disruptions and companies facing liquidity shortages, consisting of public guarantee schemes and deferred tax payments, which are now estimated at 16% of EU GDP, up from 10% on 16 March.  

  3. Flexibility in EU rules. On 23 March, Ministers of Finance agreed with the assessment of the Commission that the conditions for the use of the general escape clause of the EU fiscal framework, a severe economic downturn in the euro area or the Union as a whole, are fulfilled. This offers the flexibility necessary to the national budgets to support the economy and to respond in a coordinated manner to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcomed the Commission’s decision to issue a specific temporary state-aid framework to expedite public support to companies while ensuring the necessary level playing field in the Single Market as well as the recent extension of the framework to cover support for research, testing and production relevant in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic.

  4. Use of the EU budget. We welcome the proposals by the Commission to make the best use of existing EU budget resources to fight the crisis. The proposal for a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative was approved by the European Parliament and the Council and is in force as of the 1st of April. This will allow the use of EUR 37 billion under the cohesion policy to address the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the scope of the Solidarity Fund was broadened to include major public health crises. Starting from the 1st of April, this allows the hardest hit Member States to get access to the financial support of up to EUR 800 million in 2020.

  5. Monetary Policy. We welcome the resolute action taken by the European Central Bank to support liquidity and financing conditions to households, businesses and banks, which will help to preserve the smooth provision of credit to the economy. On 18 March, the ECB decided to launch a EUR 750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP), to expand the range of eligible assets under the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) and to ease the collateral standards. These measures are aimed at ensuring that all sectors of the economy can benefit from supportive financing conditions that enable them to absorb the Covid-19 shock.

 

Additional crisis response instruments and preparing the ground for the recovery

  • EU budget flexibility

  • Emergency Support

  • Strengthening EIB activities

  • Safety nets in the EU and EA

  • SURE

  • Recovery Fund

  • Upcoming MFF

  • Roadmap for Recovery

NEXT STEPS:

The Eurogroup will pursue the work needed taking into account the intention of the Council Presidency to take the legislative proposals forward without delay.

7 april

First “ERA vs CORONA” Action Plan short-term coordinated Research and Innovation actions

 

10 priority actions for coordinated research and innovation actions:

 

1 Coordination of R&I funding against the Coronavirus

This action aims at giving national authorities a possibility to work closer and align activities through Programme level cooperation.

Extending and supporting large EU wide clinical trials for clinical management of Coronavirus patients

This action aims to gather additional funding to extend and support the implementation of large-scale, multi-centric clinical trials across Europe.

New funding for innovative and rapid health-related approaches to respond to coronavirus and deliver quick results relevant to society and a higher level of preparedness of health systems This action aims at funding innovative approaches for researchers and innovators to deliver quick results relevant to society focussing on (1) Social and economic impacts of the outbreak response; (2) Medical technologies and ICT-applications; (3) Health systems preparedness (including manufacturing).

Increasing support to innovative companies

This action aims at increasing support to the recently closed Horizon 2020 European Innovation Council pilot Accelerator using the opportunity of the bottom-up call where more than 1,000 coronavirus related applications have been received (out of a global number of around 4,000) to support the best applications relating to the coronavirus. It also aims at increasing support to research & innovation financial instruments addressing coronavirus related issues. This would assist with the increasing demand of financial support notably for rapid vaccines development and deployment / upscaling of good manufacturing practice production facilities of EU enterprises. It also includes establishing a Coronavirus European Innovation Council Platform for matchmaking services with dedicated groups and matchmaking services for start-ups and SMEs to exchange ideas on coronavirus innovations and connect with investors, public procurers, corporations and others.

Creating opportunities for other funding sources to contribute to R&I actions on Coronavirus

This action aims at awarding Seals of Excellence for coronavirus relevant innovations by SMEs/startups evaluated as excellent, but not selected for funding under the European Innovation Council calls. It would also request the consent of SMEs/startups to provide their contact details to Structural Fund managing authorities. Under this action, favourable treatment of state aid to COVID19 Seals of Excellence applies. Additional funding sources, e.g. national/regional funding, private foundations, InvestEU etc will be explored.

Establish a one-stop-shop for Coronavirus R&I funding

An “ERA Corona platform” will provide a complete overview of all ongoing R&I funding initiatives on the Coronavirus. See https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/covid-19

Establish an ad-hoc High-Level R&I Task Force on the Coronavirus

Without duplicating existing structures, such a new ad-hoc High-Level R&I Task Force could advise on possible R&I actions of EU relevance on identified medium and long-term priorities and communicate about coordinated R&I actions to the general public.

Access to Research Infrastructures

The availability of the services provided by Research Infrastructures (analytical facilities, biological samples, reagents, pathogen labs, regulatory support, social science Research Infrastructures etc.) and of the data they hold (e.g. for the re-testing of raw data and assessing the societal effects and effectiveness of pandemic responses) is vital for researchers working on the coronavirus. New services (including High-Performance Computing and Artificial Intelligence) and datasets are being brought on stream and it is important to match supply and demand across borders.

Research data sharing platform

This action aims to establish a European data exchange platform for SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus-related information exchange, connected to the European Open Science Cloud. This will allow quick sharing of research data and results to accelerate discovery. Researchers should be required to provide immediate and fully open access and to share research outcomes (data, models, workflows, results) that are as FAIR as possible in real-time.

10 Pan-EU Hackathon to mobilise European innovators and civil society

The Commission has given patronage to a pan-European Hackathon (#EUvsVirus) which will be organised through a coalition with the organisers of the hackathons held in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. This Hackathon is expected to shorten the time to deployment of innovative solutions developed by start-ups and policymakers since innovators will be able to leverage the work already done by other innovators in Europe instead of starting from scratch or redoing the work done already by other innovators. It is also expected to provide information to hospitals and public administrations on the existing innovative solutions in the other Member States. The planned date for the Hackathon is 24-26 April 2020.

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/research_and_innovation/research_by_area/documents/ec_rtd_era-vs-corona_0.pdf  

6 April

President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a comprehensive set of measures that will:

  • Ensure the adequate supply of protective equipment and medical supplies across Europe;

  • Cushion the blow for people’s livelihoods and the economy by applying full flexibility of EU fiscal rules;

  • Set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

  • Provide a coherent set of guidelines to Member States on border measures to protect citizens’ health while allowing the free flow of essential goods

  • Restrict temporarily non-essential travel to the European Union

 

https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response/european-commissions-action-coronavirus_en

Coronavirus: Commission encourages and facilitates cross-border treatment of patients and deployment of medical staff

 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_590

3 april

2 april

COVID-19 EU coronavirus response

 

1) Health measures;

2) Border and mobility measures;

3) Economic measures;

4) Promoting research including for a vaccine;

5) Fighting disinformation

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/FS_20_552

ONGOING

31 march

Strengthening resilience in countries hosting syrian refugees 

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_549 

30 march

30 march

23 march

20 march

19 march

18 march

18 march

Timeline - Council actions on COVID-19
 

https://eu2020.hr/Home/OneNews?id=219 

17 march

16 march

16 march

13 march

Commission sets out European coordinated response to counter the economic impact of the Coronavirus

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_459 

10 march

President of the European Council holds video conference with European Council members

During the meeting leaders identified four priorities:

  1. limiting the spread of the virus

  2. ensuring provision of medical equipment

  3. promoting research, including for a vaccine

  4. tackling socio-economic consequences

 

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/03/10/statement-by-the-president-of-the-european-council-following-the-video-conference-on-covid-19/ 

6 march

Council holds second extraordinary meeting of health ministers to discuss the latest developments

Ministers agreed that in order to counter the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important to:

  • further raise awareness on COVID-19

  • strengthen the protection of people at risk

  • establish containment measures, including evidence-based advice concerning travel to and from risk areas

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/epsco/2020/03/06/ 

4 march

Eurogroup discusses impact of COVID-19 on the economy

Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to coordinate responses and stand ready to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve strong, sustainable growth.

 

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/03/04/statement-on-the-situation-with-covid-19/ 

2 march

Global Arena Research Institute launches the "Beyond" Initiative 

The global COVID-19 emergency emphasizes local and nation-based responses and national

collectivism in general. In the short term, it is understandable. The multilateral institutions (including the EU) were not devised with such a scenario in mind.

However, in the long run, going national and going local is not the way forward. Nation-states cannot win the fight against COVID-19 (or similar threats in the future) by themselves. Moreover, there is a mounting risk that such a nationalist bias will endure and last beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

GARI believes, instead, that it is imperative to look "beyond" the local and national horizons

As of today, GARI launches the initiative "Beyond" to stress this point. We are starting by tracking and highlighting global, multilateral and EU-related measures to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences. We believe that the COVID-19 coverage in the (social) media favours reporting on national measures and national policies and politics, thus further prompts nationalism as such. 

Our subsequent goal is to follow on implementation and impact of these measures in a coherent and continuous manner.

Any suggestions, inputs or comments welcome (via FB messenger, LinkedIn or email beyond@globari.org)  

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The world must establish a genuine dialogue between the most advanced technologies and artificial reasoning capabilities on the one hand, and the normative and critical capabilities of the social sciences on the other. We have reached the point where their mutual inspiration and cross-fertilization is a must.

CONTACT

E: info@globari.org

© 2020 by GARI