On 8 April 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative introduced plans for a targeted EU response to support partner countries' efforts in tackling the Coronavirus pandemic combining resources from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions, as ‘Team Europe'. By 1 January 2021, Team Europe had already supported partner countries around the world with more than €26 billion, 65% of the overall response package that now stands at over €40 billion and exceeding the original €20 billion pledged.
Team Europe is also working to ensure global, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and supporting the rollout of vaccination campaigns, while exploring possibilities for boosting local manufacturing capacity. The EU played a leading role in setting up the COVAX Facility, the global initiative that allows for high-income countries to fund vaccines for low and middle-income countries and where Team Europe is one of its leading donors, with over €2.2 billion.
In 2020, Team Europe spent €3.2 billion in support of the emergency response to humanitarian needs – more than 90% of its committed €3.5 billion – amongst others, on:
Supplying more than 11.3 million pieces of protective equipment and medical equipment such as ventilators, ICU beds, patient triage containers, ambulances and 30,000 smaller medical devices in the Western Balkans. Emergency support also provided more than 80,000 COVID tests, material to calibrate another 580,000 tests and 25,000 litres of disinfectant.
Providing through the EU and WHO Solidarity for Health Initiative in the Eastern Neighbourhood substantial medical supplies, including over 11 million items of personal protective equipment, 12,000 lab kits, over 1,500 ventilators, oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters, and over 20,000 PCR testing kits.
Providing targeted assistance to vulnerable migrants and refugees in North Africa through the EU Trust Fund Africa's regional emergency response programme.
Ensuring the continued provision of humanitarian and medical supplies and personnel to third countries via the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge launched in May 2020. From May to October 2020, it successfully carried out 67 flights to 20 countries on four continents. It deployed 1,150 tonnes of essential medical and humanitarian supplies as well as medical and humanitarian staff. Acquiring vital medical equipment such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators, and protective and intensive care equipment for health facilities and workers, via €10 million from the EU and Germany to the Economic Community of West African States.
Providing support for access to safe water, expansion of sanitation facilities and promotion of good hygiene practices to combat the spread of the virus in the Horn of Africa. In Somalia, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) implemented triage areas at the entrance to hospitals, provided tents for isolation to the Mogadishu hospital and implemented a surveillance system to monitor suspected cases at clinics supported by the Somali Red Crescent. In addition, the ICRC recruited additional nursing staff to support COVID-19 operations, installed hand-washing points, trained staff on COVID-19, provided personal protective equipment and organised health education.
Strengthening emergency response and preparedness in ten countries via a €30 million contribution to the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan of the World Health Organisation (WHO). For example, in Afghanistan. More than 1.5 million people have been reached through communication on risk and community engagement activities. Over 3,000 health professionals have been trained in infection prevention and control, over 100,000 people have benefited from laboratory testing, and more than 4,000 patients have been hospitalised and received hospital care.
Training local communities to better face the impact of the pandemic, for example in Colombia, where five Immediate Response Teams for prevention, preparedness and response to emergencies, were also set up. In Venezuela, an EU-funded project trained 200 mothers on COVID-19 prevention measures, and distributed 15,600 hygiene kits to vulnerable families and staff of soup kitchens.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, commented: “The virus has shaken the entire world. As Team Europe, we are working tirelessly with our partners across the globe to cushion the impact of the pandemic and set a path towards a sustainable recovery. We also need to start work now to ensure we are better prepared to address together future health crisis. This is why the European Commission and the Italian Presidency of the G20 will convene the Global Health Summit on 21 May.”
As ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) we appreciate the role of Team Europe as showing solidarity to beat COVID-19 and help the business flourish through the EU and beyond. We very welcome the efforts of the EU to support and protect its partners in times of crises.
The ‘Team Europe' package was launched on 8 April 2020 to support EU partner countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The financial support initially pledged was for around €20 billion and combined resources from the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Source: European Commission Press Corner