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Anjum Shabbir
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8th April 2020
Covid-19 External Relations & Trade

Assisting countries beyond the Member States to fight the COVID-19 pandemic

Plans have been set out today by the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Josep Borrel) to support the EU’s partner countries to fight the pandemic, in a Joint Communication.

It is distributing funding that aims to: address the immediate health crisis and resulting humanitarian needs; strengthen partner countries’ health, water and sanitation systems; strengthen their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic; mitigate the socioeconomic impact; and make sure that the substantial EU funding already allocated to them is targeted to help them deal with the impact of coronavirus.

In doing so it has secured financial support to partner countries amounting to more than €15.6 billion from existing external action resources:

  • From the overall package of €15.6 billion, €3.25 billion are channelled to Africa, including €1.19 billion for the Northern African neighbourhood countries.
  • The EU will support Asia and the Pacific with €1.22 billion, another €291 million will go for the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific region, €918 million to support our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and €111 million to support Overseas Countries and Territories.
  • the Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner has stated that 3.8 billion euros of funds foreseen for the Western Balkans and other neighbours were being redirected as an urgent response to the health crisis in those countries.

It will also lead a virtual pledging event to help mobilise the necessary funding and support the World Health Organisation to assist the most vulnerable countries. The EU will promote a coordinated multilateral response, in partnership with the United Nations, International Financial Institutions, as well as the G7 and the G20.

Plans include continuing to follow a ‘Team Europe‘ approach, providing quick and targeted support to partners by combining resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to support partner countries and address their short-term needs, as well as the longer-term structural impacts on societies and the economy. The first Team Europe packages are already being implemented in the immediate neighbourhood: the Western Balkans, in the East and to the South.

For more details of the above measures, Q&A’s are available here, and examples of support here. Read the Joint Communication, which is far more detailed than the summary above, here.

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