During these times of crisis, countries, regions and cities across the European Union are stretching out a helping hand to fellow EU citizens. Assistance is being given to those most in need through:
- donations of protective equipment such as masks, gloves, overalls and goggles
- medical teams and medical equipment
- the cross-border treatments of ill patients
- bringing stranded EU citizens home.
The European Commission, through its Emergency Response Coordination Centre, provides assistance upon request, such as:
- coordinating and co-financing the delivery of personal protective equipment and other assistance
- repatriation flights to bring back stranded citizens from outside Europe
- the transport of medical teams from one country to another.
- This is European solidarity at its best.
EU Civil Protection Mechanism
Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the European Union is helping coordinate and finance the delivery of medical equipment and related items (protective facemasks, gowns, gloves, goggles, overalls and disinfectant and other products) across Europe and the world, to countries that have sought assistance.
The European Commission coordinated and co-financed deliveries of over 190 million medical and personal protective equipment, reinforced hospitals with additional medical staff, and provided over 10.5 million vaccine doses to over 55 countries in Europe and worldwide via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In addition to its coordinating role, the EU finances 75% of the transport costs of the dispatched assistance.
- January 2022
Following a request by Iran, Spain provided over 2.2 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 to Tehran, to ensure the protection of Afghan refugees residing in the country. Additional vaccines doses from Poland and Sweden are scheduled for delivery, bringing the total doses delivered in Iran to over 6.2 million.
- October 2021
Through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU provided 200 oxygen concentrators from the rescEU strategic medical reserve hosted by the Netherlands, 50 oxygen concentrators from Poland and 5,200 vials of monoclonal antibodies from Italy. In addition, 15 ventilators and 8 oxygen concentrators will be transported from Denmark to Romania through this mechanism.
- August 2021
The EU supported Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Spain to deliver around 1.3 million vaccine doses and almost 8 million facemasks, along with antigen tests, ventilators, oxygen concentrators, nursing beds and other medical equipment to Tunisia. A medical team from Romania was dispatched to provide additional support. The EU has furthermore released €700,000 from its Epidemics Tool to respond to the ongoing outbreak by addressing critical needs and support the coordination of the vaccination campaign.
- July 2021
The EU supported Greece in delivering 200,000 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 to Albania and North Macedonia.
- June 2021
The EU supported Norway in delivering over 180,000 vaccine doses to Kosovo. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has coordinated and co-financed the delivery of 140,000 masks and other personal protective items, as well as disinfectants, oxygen generators and antigen tests to Kosovo from Slovenia, the Czech Republic and France.
- March 2021
The EU supported Romania in delivering 50,400 doses of vaccines to Moldova in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- February 2021
- Romania sent 1.5 million surgical masks, 100,000 FFP3 masks, 100,000 protective suits and 100,000 gloves to Moldova, and dispatched a medical team specialised in intensive care to Slovakia.
- A consignment of 21,600 doses of vaccines against COVID-19 was delivered to Moldova from Romania, to support the country’s response to the pandemic.
- January 2021
The Czech Republic and France sent personal protective equipment to help with the coronavirus containment efforts to North Macedonia and Mongolia. 126,000 masks and 5,000 overalls were sent by the Czech Republic to North Macedonia, and 400 oxygen masks, 200 nasal cannulas, generators and other items were provided by France to Mongolia.
- December 2020
Following an additional request for assistance, Ukraine received a shipment of 50 ventilators sent by Denmark. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism also coordinated and co-financed the delivery of disinfectants and personal protective equipment from Estonia and Denmark to Georgia. Moldova also received gloves, blankets and disinfectant from Austria and Poland, also via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, while Albania received gloves and disinfectant from Austria as well.
- August 2020
At the beginning of August 2020, an Italian emergency medical team was deployed to Azerbaijan, while emergency medical teams from Italy, Germany and Lithuania were deployed to Armenia between June and July.
COVAX: global vaccination
A sustainable path out of the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU depends on progress at the global level. No country or region in the world is safe from COVID-19 unless the coronavirus is contained globally.
The EU and its Member States are leading investment in the global COVAX Facility and are establishing a coordinated European approach to vaccine sharing by setting up an EU Vaccine Sharing Mechanism to help partner countries overcome the pandemic.
The European approach to vaccine sharing helps neighbouring and partner countries overcome the pandemic. Team Europe (Commission, Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) is investing over 3 billion in COVAX to help secure 1.8 billion doses of vaccines for 92 low and middle income countries.
Some €47 million has been allocated to support vaccination in the EU’s Eastern neighbouring countries and the Western Balkans in partnership with World Health Organisation.
rescEU – a common reserve of medical equipment
On 19 March 2020, the European Commission created a strategic rescEU capacity – a common European reserve – of emergency medical equipment, such as ventilators, protective masks, gloves and laboratory supplies to help EU countries face the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission finances 100% of the capacity (including the procurement, maintenance and the delivery costs), which is hosted by several Member States and is constantly replenished. Germany and Romania were the first Member States to host the rescEU reserve, followed by Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Sweden in September. In January 2021, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia became new host countries for rescEU medical supplies, with a second medical supply reserve hosted by Germany.
- Over 1.3 million FFP2 and FFP3 protective facemasks from the rescEU medical reserve were delivered to Italy (142,000), Spain (173,000), Croatia (65,000), Lithuania (20,000), Montenegro (140,000) and North Macedonia (255,000) and Serbia (510,000)
- 270,000 pairs of gloves, 48,000 protective overalls with foot protection, and 5,500 goggles were delivered to Serbia; the country received additional, 600,000 FFP2 masks and 650,000 pairs of gloves in February 2021 from the rescEU medical equipment reserve hosted in Greece
- Protective gowns and overalls were distributed to Montenegro (30,000 gowns) and North Macedonia (70,000 gowns and 140,000 overalls)
- The first batch of 30 rescEU ventilators was delivered to the Czech Republic in October 2020, followed by additional 120 ventilators and 30 high-flow oxygen therapy devices delivered from Austria and the Netherlands;Additional medical supplies were dispatched from the rescEU medical equipment stockpile hosted in Greece: Montenegro and North Macedonia received gloves, masks, protective overalls, as well as 15,000 PCR test kits each, beds, blankets and towels from Slovakia. Germany sent hand and surface disinfectant to Serbia, and Czechia provided masks, gloves and ventilators to Moldova.
The rescEU stockpile supplies include:
- over 65 million medical masks and 15 million FFP2 and FFP3 masks
- over 280 million pairs of medical gloves
- almost 20 million medical gowns and aprons
- several thousand oxygen concentrators and ventilators.
The hosting States are responsible for procuring the equipment with the support of the Commission. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre manages the distribution of the equipment to ensure it goes where it is most needed.
The rescEU reserve is constantly replenished and deliveries take place regularly, based on the needs of the participating countries.
Assistance outside the EU
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, the EU has disbursed over €47.7 billion in support of more than 140 partner countries as Team Europe, to address the pandemic and its consequences. The support combines resources from the EU, its Member States, the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
From the overall €53.7 billion the Team Europe package has mobilised so far, €47.7 billion have been disbursed as of December 2021:
- €3 billion for emergency response to humanitarian needs
- €10.6 billion to strengthen health, water and sanitation systems
- €34.1 billion to mitigate the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, including job loss and education
Team Europe has disbursed 88.8% of the €53.7 billion committed by the end of 2021. In April 2021, disbursements reached €34 billion, while at the end of 2021, they were up to €47.7 billion (+ €13.7 billion).
As of 31 December 2021, the state-of-play of disbursements relative to commitments is as follows:
- Neighbourhood: €13.6 billion out of €15.6 billion
- Sub-Saharan Africa: €8.3 billion out of €9 billion
- Western Balkans and Türkiye: €6.8 billion out of €7.6 billion
- Asia and the Pacific: €4 billion out of €4.3 billion
- Latin America and the Caribbean: €2.5 billion out of €3.2 billion
- Africa, Caribbean and Pacific, regional: €539 million out of €743 million
- Overseas territories and Greenland: €579 million out of €631 million
- Global programmes: €8.6 billion out of €9.7 billion
At the Global Health Summit in Rome, on 21 May 2021, President von der Leyen announced that ‘Team Europe' would share with low and middle-income countries at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021, mainly via COVAX. On 22 November 2021, Team Europe and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance announced a donation of 99.6 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be delivered before the end of the year. The first lot was delivered to Niger (496,800), Djibouti (50,400), Nigeria (2,764,800), Togo (633,600), Central African Republic (302,400), Democratic Republic of Congo (230,400), the Republic of Guinea (496,800), and Mauritania (144,000).
On 6 January 2022, President von der Leyen announced that 380 million vaccine doses were shared with low and middle-income countries in 2021, exceeding the target of 250 million doses. Furthermore, 700 million vaccine doses were planned for delivery to low and middle-income countries by mid-2022, particularly across Africa.
On 15 February 2022, ahead of the sixth European Union – African Union Summit, the EU, Belgium, France and Germany, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that over €100 million will be mobilised over the next five years in support of African Medicines Agency (AMA) and other African medicines regulatory initiatives at regional and national levels.
On 24 March 2022, the EU reaffirmed its support for Africa by strengthening its partnership with the World Health Organization, to boost equitable access to safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccines, medicines and health technologies in African countries. The €24.5 million in EU financial contribution are earmarked to support regulatory strengthening (€11.5 million), technology transfer (€12 million) and strategic purchasing (€1 million). The EU–WHO partnership will assist the African Union in reaching its target of increasing local vaccine production, in Africa and for Africa, by 2040.
At the Second COVID-19 Summit on 12 May 2022, the European Commission announced its intention to step up funding to accelerate roll-out and uptake of vaccines and other COVID-19 tools in Africa, with a further €400 million in support. The Commission also foresees a €427 million contribution to the Global Pandemic Preparedness Fund to support efforts to prevent and better respond to future pandemics.
Helping stranded citizens to get home
The Commission has helped Member States to coordinate assistance and consular repatriation operations of EU citizens from across the world.