On 9 April, the Council approved additional funding from the EU budget, amounting to €121.5 million, to address urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These funds will support the following actions:
preparatory work for digital green certificates to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic
strengthening the capacity of member states to detect and monitor new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (‘sequencing’)
the development, evaluation and adjustment of new reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays for each new emerging variant of the COVID-19 virus before the tests are rolled out, while ensuring sufficient testing capacity in the member states
monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in wastewaters
further development of the exchange platform for passenger locator forms to increase the number of participating member states
The funds will be drawn from the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve, which is intended to help Member States and third countries in emergency situations. They will be channelled through the Emergency Support Instrument and the EU contribution to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The European Parliament is expected to discuss this support in March, aiming for approval in plenary at the end of April.
In total, the Commission has proposed €245.2 million of additional funding from the EU budget to support the initiatives outlined above, as well as €100 million for further emerging needs related to COVID-19. Besides the mobilisation of the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve, this expenditure would be covered by redeployments in the 2021 budget (around €7.5 million) and amending budget no 2 to the 2021 EU budget (€216.2 million). The draft amending budget still needs to be adopted by the Council and the Parliament.
As ECOPNET, we suggest our partners to closely follow new announcements on the new fundings related to COVID-19 crisis as European Union has been helping to Member States since the very beginning of the pandemic and new announcements are being made time by time. We appreciate the EU's help towards people who are in need. We believe that Europe can survive out of this crisis if Member states cooperate together, as it is the only way that EU emerges stronger from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also be informing our partners on what happened in the plenary session regarding this topic at the end of April.
1 year ago, EU leaders decided to work towards establishing a EU recovery fund aimed at mitigating the effects of the crisis. They tasked the European Commission to urgently come up with a proposal, which would also clarify the link between the fund and the EU's long term budget. The proposal, a recovery plan for Europe, was presented by the European Commission on 27 May 2020.
On 21 July, EU leaders agreed on a €750 billion recovery effort, Next Generation EU, to help the EU tackle the crisis caused by the pandemic.
The European Parliament and the Council reached a preliminary agreement on the package on 10 November 2020. The European Council on 10-11 December 2020 addressed the concerns raised on the agreement and cleared the path for the recovery package to be adopted.
The regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) was adopted by the Council on 11 February 2021. This instrument, which is at the heart of the Next Generation EU, will bring €672.5 billion of support to member states to help them address the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Council of European Union Press Corner