|The EU is accelerating procurement and distribution of medical equipment for its Member States. To respond to the need for medical equipment such as masks, gloves and protective overalls, the Commission launched several joint procurement procedures. Producers have now made offers for eye and respiratory protection that cover or exceed the quantities of items requested. Part of this equipment will be already available to deploy two weeks after Member States have signed the contracts.|
|The EU has worked 24/7 to boost medical supplies. The civil protection operation ‘RescEU’ will stockpile and manage distribution of vital medical equipment to ensure it goes where it is needed most. We are also working to speed up production of new medical equipment around the clock. The initial EU budget of the stockpile is €80 million. When China asked for EU help, we delivered. Now China is returning the favour. International solidarity is a good thing. But let’s not forget EU solidarity: German hospitals taking Italian patients, masks being sent to Italian doctors from France and Austria and much more. EU solidarity saves lives.|
|EU countries remain the best partners for each other – and are stepping up their solidarity.
Large amounts of financial, medical and personnel assistance have been put in place to aid all EU member states. These include mobilising the EU budget through the setting up of a €37 billion for a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative providing targeted assistance to member states to the fight against the Coronavirus crisis. In addition, €1 billion will be redirected from the EU budget as a guarantee to the European Investment Fund to incentivize banks to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and small mid-cap companies.
|The coronavirus crisis does not signal the collapse of the Schengen Area. On the contrary – we are seeing how indispensable Schengen is to the European economy and way of life. In the current exceptional situation, many EU Member States introduced temporary border controls to slow the spread of coronavirus, but the Commission is ensuring that EU-wide supply chains continue to operate and that flow of goods and key services continues around the clock. The introduction of ‘green lanes’ will allow all freight vehicles to cross internal Schengen borders within 15 minutes. Learn more here.|
|Should any mobile data be collected, it will always be in full respect of citizens’ privacy and data protection rights. The Commission has asked telecom firms to supply anonymised and aggregated mobile metadata, which will help to analyse the virus’ patterns of diffusion. This does not mean that protection has been lifted: The data would not allow to track or monitor individual users. The findings will be made available to Member States. This project will be fully compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the ePrivacy legislation and individual data sets of citizens would never be identified.|
|The EU and the Member States take care of different things – in coordination with each other. The ability to pass laws at country level to tackle the coronavirus rests entirely with Member States – the Commission does not have a right to interfere in national legislation and decisions on subjects such as health. On the other hand, the EU can put together European policies and fast, coordinated, pan-European initiatives to tackle the crisis together with Member States. An example of this is that the decision to go into ‘lockdown’ and to close a country’s borders is made on a national level, whilst the mobilisation of €140 million from EU funds to find a vaccine, new treatments and diagnostic tests is made on an EU level.|
|Migrants are not bringing COVID-19 to Europe. The coronavirus is spread from one infected person to another through droplets that people sneeze, cough or exhale, and is not carried by any particular population or group. If you read that the virus is purposefully being spread by migrants or specific ethnic groups, be assured that there is no scientific basis to such claims. In fact, COVID-19 is a global crisis that requires global solidarity.|