Snapshots of European solidarity
Romanian medical staff, selected on a voluntary basis, operated in Lecco (Italy) for 14 days, under the aegis of the Civil Protection Mechanism of the European Union, in support of the Italian medical system.
The European Solidarity Tracker
The European Solidarity Tracker is an interactive data visualisation tool that visualises solidarity among EU member states and EU institutions.
Drawing on publicly available sources collected by ECFR’s associate researchers and the Rethink: Europe team, the European Solidarity Tracker documented a dense network of mutual aid and cooperation across Europe and illustrates the critical role the EU played throughout the coronavirus crisis.
EU Industry steps in to protect European citizens
European companies responded quickly to the coronavirus crisis and showed extraordinary solidarity to face the pandemic together to protect the health of the European citizens.
Many companies across Europe retooled and revamped their production to meet the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), disinfectants and medical devices. From distilleries to textile companies, industry put its knowhow at the service of citizens to produce masks, protective gowns, hand sanitizers and ventilators.
The Commission took action to create the right conditions for industry to ramp up or retool production, including asking European Standards Organisations to make standards for facemasks and other protective equipment freely available to all interested parties.
In addition, in order to accelerate the approval of essential products and to help companies adapt their production lines, the Commission published guidance in the following areas: PPE, leave-on hand cleaners and hand disinfectants as well as 3D printing.
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The information included in this interactive tool is based on publicly available sources. It presents a non-exhaustive list portraying a series of examples to showcase how EU industry has quickly responded to the coronavirus outbreak. If a company wishes to inform us of their story, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
European solidarity in treating patients
11 intensive care patients from Italy and 3 intensive care patients from France were treated in Austrian hospitals. “Given the great drama of the situation, this is only a small contribution, but it is symbolically important that we support Europe,” a statement released by the Austrian authorities said.
Following Slovakia’s request for medical to help treat COVID-19 patients, Belgium deployed one doctor, two nurses and a team leader.
Following Slovakia’s request for medical to help treat COVID-19 patients, Denmark sent one team of three doctors and five nurses.
Cities and states across Germany treated critically ill patients from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Czechia making their own intensive care capacities available for these patients.
For Italy, 85 intensive care beds were reserved in 10 German federal states with 44 Italian patients already transferred to Germany.
For France 130 French patients were transferred to Germany in spring 2020, and several more in November.
For France, 98 intensive care beds have been reserved in 10 federal states with 130 French patients already transferred to Germany.
46 patients from the Netherlands were transferred to Germany for the treatment.
Planes and helicopters operated by the German Airforce picked up intensive care patients for treatment in Germany. Medical staff from the University clinic Jena are supporting a clinic near Naples, Campania.
23 patients from the province of Liège in Belgium were transferred to Germany for treatment.
Bavaria offered 100 hospital beds to COVID patients from Czechia.
500 mobile medical units co-financed by the EU allowed citizens to be tested at home.
Emergency Medical Team of 10 doctors and nurses from Italy prepared a mission in Armenia, via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Seven French intensive care patients from Mulhouse, France, were airlifted on 25 March and ar treated in Luxembourg. Another four arrived from Thionville.
Luxembourg Air Rescue repatriated six more patients from the Grand-Est region in France and treated them in intensive care in the Grand Duchy and in Germany.
Ambulance jets and two helicopters of the Luxembourg Air Rescue were integrated into the French Urgent Medical Aid Service. They flew French intensive care patients to Hamburg and Dresden, Germany.
The Polish Centre for International Aid sent a dedicated team of 15 Polish doctors and paramedics, certified by the WHO, to a field hospital in Brescia, Lombardy, one of the most affected areas in Italy.
European solidarity in protecting health workers and citizens
As of 7 May 2020, the European Commission started delivering1.5 million masks to 17 Member States and the UK to protect EU healthcare workers. This was the first batch of 10 million masks purchased by the Commission via the Emergency Support Instrument. They were delivered over the next six weeks in weekly instalments of 1.5 million masks to the Member States and regions in need.
Following previous deliveries of some 330,000 protective masks to Italy, Spain and Croatia, more batches of protective masks were delivered to Lithuania, (20,000), North Macedonia (10,000) and Montenegro (10,000) under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The rescEU reserve of medical equipment is completely financed by the EU budget. Germany and Romania were the first Member States to host the rescEU reserve, followed by Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Sweden in September.
On 18 June 2020, a pilot operation successfully delivered over seven tonnes of personal protective equipment to Bulgaria. The cargo included over 500,000 protective masks, purchased by Bulgaria with transport costs covered by the EU.
On 7 July 2020, the EU delivered 65,000 additional masks to Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia already delivered via the strategic rescEU reserve.
In the first week of August, more batches of protective masks were distributed to Croatia, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the common rescEU reserve. Over 130,000 protective medical-grade masks and gowns were delivered to Montenegro and North Macedonia in October, on top of 520,000 masks already delivered from the rescEU reserve, as well as in-kind assistance provided to countries in need via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Following a request by France via EU Civil Protection Mechanism, two batches of 2 million surgical gloves offered by Norway were delivered in October and November 2020.
On 22 October, the EU sent to Czechia a first batch of 30 ventilators from the common European stockpile of medical equipment, rescEU. Together with contributions from the Netherlands and Austria, Czechia’s request for 150 ventilators was fully answered.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism then also coordinated the deployment of an Italian Emergency Medical Team of six medical experts to Azerbaijan to support local health authorities in the fight against the coronavirus.
In January 2021, the rescEU medical reserves hosted by Greece and Germany delivered 107,000 protective masks to North Macedonia and 78,000 to Montenegro. Macedonia also received 35,000 protective gowns and 140,000 overalls, and Montenegro, 15,000 medical gowns.
In February 2021, following a request for assistance from Moldova, Romania sent 1.5 million surgical masks, 100,000 FFP3 masks, 100,000 protective suits and 100,000 gloves. In February 2021, the rescEU medical reserve hosted by Greece delivered 600,000 FFP2 protective masks and 650,000 pairs of gloves to Serbia.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism responded to 25 requests throughout the pandemic and provided personal protective equipment, medicines and health experts.
Latvia provided 478,500 masks to Estonia under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
It offered 60,000 face masks to Lithuania, also under the Mechanism.
Austria transported 1.5 million masks to Italy.
Austria delivered over 3,360 liters of medical disinfectant to Italy via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Austria sent gloves and disinfectant to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova and Albania via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. North Macedonia has received shelter and sanitary items, and Serbia received blankets, mattresses and tents for migrants in the country via the Mechanism. Austria also sent 181 living containers which can be used as shelters or mobile healthcare facilities at the disposal of Greek authorities for migrant camps in Greece.
Austria sent 15 ventillators to Czechia and offered 30 high-flow nasal oxygen therapy devices through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Czechia delivered 10,000 protective suits to Italy and another 10,000 to Spain.
Czechia also sent shelter, sanitary and non-food items to Greece for refugees and migrants at risk of coronavirus through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In January 2021, Czechia sent 126,000 masks and 5,000 overalls to North Macedonia.
Denmark sent customised containers for shelter and medical care to Greece for refugees and migrants at risk of coronavirus through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. It also offered medical ventilators to Italy and protective equipment to Georgia.
Estonia offerred disinfectant, blankets and bedlinen to North Macedonia, Montenegro and Georgia through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
France donated 1 million masks to Italy and 20,000 protective suits. France also sent customised containers for shelter and medical care to Greece for refugees and migrants at risk of coronavirus through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In January 2021, France sent 400 oxygen masks, 200 nasal cannulas, generators and other related items to Mongolia.
Germany delivered 7,5 tons of medical equipment to Italy, including ventilators and anaesthetic masks. It also delivered 50 ventilators to Spain and 25 to France.
Hungary delivered more than 1,700,000 masks, 200,000 gloves and several other equipment to amongst others Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Slovakia, Italy, Serbia, North-Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
Luxembourg delivered 1.440 kg of material to Spain to make individual protection suits for its medical staff; it also facilitated the delivery of 100t of medical equipment from China to Lithuania.
The Netherlands is sending customised containers for shelter and medical care to Greece for refugees and migrants at risk of coronavirus through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
The Netherlands sent 105 ventilators to Czechia through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Poland offered disinfectant, surgical masks, face shields and other personal protective equipment items to Moldova and Ukraine.
Slovakia sent masks and disinfectant to Italy, and offered ambulances, masks, disinfectant and blankets to Ukraine under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
European solidarity in bringing people home*
Since the beginning of the outbreak, on board of over 360 repatriation flights facilitated and co-financed by the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, over 90,000 stranded EU citizens were brought home. One in three passengers repatriated were European citizens from a different nationality than the country organising the repatriation flight.
Many more intra-European flights, also outside the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, but chartered directly by Member States, are brought citizens home daily.
Austria repatriated citizens of 25 EU Member States on flights organized by Austria from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia, UK, US, Vietnam.
Belgium repatriated citizens of 20 EU countries.
Czechia repatriated hundreds of citizens of 22 EU countries.
Denmark brought back citizens of other EU countries on a flight from Mali, also carrying humanitarian aid on the outbound flight.
Finland brought home citizens of 10 EU countries.
France repatriated citizens of 26 EU countries. A flight from Wuhan, China, in early February carried 64 French citizens and 135 other EU citizens.
Germany repatriated thousands of citizens from all other EU countries.
Hungary has brought home citizens from four EU countries.
Ireland brought back home citizens from 17 EU countries.
Italy repatriated citizens from six Member States from Tokyo, Japan.
Latvia brought home citizens from four EU countries.
Lithuania brought home citizens from eight EU countries
Luxembourg repatriated citizens of 14 EU countries. A flight from Cabo Verde on 25 March carried just 20 Luxembourgish citizens and 131 other EU citizens.
Portugal brought home hundreds of citizens from 17 EU countries.
Spain has brought home more than 600 European citizens from 19 EU countries.
Sweden has brought home citizens from 15 EU countries.
Many more EU citizens were repatriated by European flights also outside the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. For example:
Croatia helped bring home citizens of 5 Member States.
A Danish flight brought home 105 Danes and another 179 Europeans from the Philippines; it helped repatriated 324 fellow European citizens on four special flights from Morocco, Italy, Philippines and Peru.
Helped 600 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to return home by ferry.
Hungary brought back home citizens from six EU countries.
Lithuania helped more than 400 citizens from six EU countries return home from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and South America.
The Netherlands brought back over 230 citizens from various EU countries home from Spain, Portugal, The Gambia, Cape Verde, Peru and Türkiye.
Polish LOT airlines helped repatriating citizens from 18 EU countries. Poland offered citizens of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ferries and dedicated trains to ensure their safe journey home. Poland also organised 18 convoys of over 800 vehicles, escorted by the Polish Police, to help more than 2.000 citizens of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to return home safely.
Portugal helped bring home hundreds of citizens from 15 EU countries.
Slovakia arranged for a flight from the US repatriating 300 EU citizens from four Member States.
*19 EU Member States used the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in their repatriation efforts. Bilateral solidarity efforts in bringing citizens home are included where these have been expressly flagged to the Commission.
Disclaimer: The examples in this page are not exhaustive. The figures are based on the most recent available sources from EU Member States via the Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS). While the Commission seeks to keep the information up to date, we take no responsibility of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in the page.
European solidarity in supporting asylum seekers
From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Commission supported Greece in protecting vulnerable people from contracting the virus and avoid a public health crisis in the refugee camps. Furthermore, an immediate response was provided to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the islands of the Aegean, where the Reception and Identification Centres are located.
In line with the commitment of President von der Leyen during her visit to Greece at the beginning of March, €350 million were immediately made available to support five projects for migration management, under Emergency Assistance. These projects covered the continuation of assistance for reception capacity in mainland Greece and on its islands, by providing rental scheme accommodation and support.
An additional €350 million of financial assistance were made available in April 2020. The increased funding supported an increased reception capacity on the Greek islands, the provision of services and emergency items (e.g. food) in the camps, the provision of additional medical teams, increased assistance to the Greek Asylum Service, and the deployment of border guards and police officers at Greece’s external borders.