European Commission measures to mitigate the COVID-19 virus crisis

The European Commission is the main coordinator of the European common crisis response to the COVID-19 virus and helps Member States combat the pandemic. Member States are leading the way, but the Commission has proposed an unprecedented set of measures that will allow them to cope with the pandemic better and easier.

1.Public health measures

As part of this measure, the EC seeks to coordinate with Member States and facilitate the procurement of protective and medical equipment across Europe, diverting existing research funding to locate the vaccine and launching its mass production and use.In cooperation with industry and Member States, the Commission helps that masks, gloves, protective clothing and other equipment become more accessible, so existing manufacturers increase production to facilitate imports and encourage alternative production methods. Several procurement groups have been launched and equipment should be available to Croatia soon.

As an additional safety measure, on 19 March the Commission allowed the creation of strategic supplies under the rescEU system - Common European Reserves - respirators, personal protective equipment, reusable masks, vaccines and medicines and laboratory equipment. The EC finances 90% of the cost of creating inventory and managing the distribution of equipment to send it where it is most needed.

The EC has already mobilized € 140 million for R&D and selected 17 new projects. In addition, it has provided € 80 million in financial support to CureVac, a leading vaccine company to intensify the development and production of coronavirus vaccines.

2.Economic measures

To mitigate the impact on citizens' lives and the economy, the EC has adopted comprehensive macroeconomic measures and prepared an Investment Initiative in response to coronavirus from € 37 billion to support the health sector, the labor market and SMEs from all affected sectors. In addition, measures adopted at national level will be complemented by the use of existing instruments from the EU budget to support the liquidity of SMEs.

In addition, the Commission has proposed extending the scope of the European Union Solidarity Fund to health crises, making € 800 million available to the hardest hit Member States, and diverting € 1 billion from the EU budget to European Investment Fund guarantees as an incentive for banks to participate in maintaining the liquidity of SMEs and mid-cap companies.

In addition, on 2 April the Commission further strengthened its response and proposed the establishment of a solidarity instrument called SURE.

3.Border measures and travel restrictions

The EC has issued practical tips for implementing the so-called Green lanes so traffic does not stop completely. Green lanes must be open to all goods vehicles, no matter what goods they transport. Crossing the border should not take more than 15 minutes, with all examinations and health checks. The pandemic also has a major impact on the European air sector. To mitigate this adverse impact, the European Commission on March 10 proposed targeted regulations to prevent the so-called phantom flights operated by airlines with almost empty aircraft in order to comply with the "use or lose" rules, according to which they must use at least 80% of the allocated airport slots to be able to retain them next year.

4.International response and international forums

The EC is providing € 232 million to the World Health Organization, primarily for global preparation and response plans. Part of this funding (€ 15 million) was allocated to Africa, such as the Senegalese Pasteur Institute in Dakar, for measures such as rapid diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance. One hundred million euros goes to much needed research in the fields of diagnostics, treatment and prevention. € 3 million has been allocated to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism for repatriation flights to which EU citizens have been returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

5. Misinformation

The EC has launched a special section dedicated to "combating the misinformation" associated with the coronavirus outbreak. False health information is spreading, including COVID 19. It is important that you seek up-to-date information only from credible sources.

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