The European Union has joined the league of those aiding countries to fight the global coronavirus pandemic. It pledged over €20 billion to combat COVID-19 in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Balkans in its “Team Europe” initiative. The objective of this initiative is to combine resources from the UN, its member states and financial institutions.
“The global pandemic can only be solved globally, it will not be defeated anywhere until it has been defeated everywhere,” said Josep Borrell, the EU Foreign Policy Chief after a video conference with EU foreign and development ministers. He went ahead to mention that more than 5 Billion Euros will be made available so that no country would be left behind.
The support of the European Union will focus on:
- Responding to the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian needs. This will include supporting the response plans of the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, and providing humanitarian support in affected countries;
- Strengthening health, water and sanitation systems, as well as partner countries’ capacities and preparedness to deal with the pandemic; and
- Mitigating the immediate social and economic consequences, including support to the private sector with a focus on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and government reforms to reduce poverty.
The funds will be retrieved from less urgent EU foreign aid schemes, said Borell. He added that the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Commission and the governments are working together to maximize the fund. The commission stated that the money will be used for immediate emergency response, medical research, and the purchase of medical equipment.
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