In view of the great challenges linked to the spreading of the coronavirus (SARS-COV-2/COVID-19), the European Union (EU) adopted a package of measures. The measures provide support to build capacities for EU countries and non-EU countries to tackle the crisis. In the following, EUSDR Priority Area 10 “Institutional Capacity and Cooperation” presents a selection of these instruments.
Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII)
The European Commision proposed to mobilise unspent money from EU budget from the European Investment and Structural Funds (ESIF). The money should facilitate the response to emerging needs in the most exposed sectors, such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets. With the so-called Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII), the European Union makes up to EUR 37 billion available, of which EUR 8 billion are available immediately to EU member states. If fully used, this will be complemented by EUR 29 billion of EU budget money from the European Structural and Investment Funds.
With the CRII, the EU member states are able to use money from the Cohesion Policy funds that has not been spent yet and redirects the funding to the fight against the coronavirus. Furthermore, the Commission seeks to apply the rules on EU cohesion spending with maximum flexibility. In doing so, EU member states can speed up implementation on the ground. At the same time, EU member states will receive adminstrative support on how to use the funds.
Available for: EU member states
EU Solidarity Fund for COVID-19
The EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) supports EU member states and accession countries that are hit by major natural disasters. In regard to the current crisis, the European Commission proposed to extend the scope of the EUSF to allow financial assistance for those seriously affected by COVID- 19. Hence, in 2020, up to EUR 800 million are available to finance medical assistance, laboratory analyses, personal protective equipment, special assistance to the population, health checks, sanitation of buildings and facilities, development of vaccines and medicines and many more. Eligible countries can submit their applications until 24th of June 2020.
Available for: EU members states | EU Accession countries
EU civil protection mechanism – rescEU stockpile
The European Commission has decided to create a strategic rescEU stockpile of medical equipment. The stockpile includes equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment to help EU countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be hosted by one or several member states. This means that the hosting country is responsible for procuring the equipment. In return, the European Commission provides up to 90% of co-financing. At the same time, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre will manage the distribution of the equipment to ensure that it goes where it is needed most. The initial EU budget of the stockpile is EUR 50 million, of which EUR 40 million is subject to the approval of the budgetary authorities. Participating countries from the Danube Region are: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia.
Available for: EU member states + Montenegro, Serbia (from the Danube Region)
As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, Horizon 2020 extends the deadlines for some calls to give more time for applicants to prepare their proposals.
Additionally, the European Research Area (ERA) corona platform publishes information on latest H2020 Calls at https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/covid-19
Further, Horizon 2020 provides EUR 47,5 million funding for 17 shortlisted research projects involving 136 research teams from across the EU and beyond to work on developing vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical systems aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Available for: EU member states, non-EU member states that are eligible for Horizon 2020
EU Global Response to Coronavirus – “Team Europe” package
The EU and its Member States will contribute to a „Team Europe Package“ to support partner countries in the the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Therefore, the EU budget contribution will be EUR 15,6 million from existing programmes (EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
The support of the European Union will focus on responding to the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian needs. This will include supporting the response plans of the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, and providing humanitarian support in affected countries. Furthermore, the package supports strengthening health, water and sanitation systems, as well as partner countries’ capacities and preparedness to deal with the pandemic and mitigating the immediate social and economic consequences. This also includes support to the private sector with a focus on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and government reforms to reduce poverty.
Available for: EU accession countries, EU neighbourhood countries
Featured image – Photocredit : Martin Bystriansky | Source: EC – Audiovisual Service