COVID-19: MEPs free up over €3 billion to support EU healthcare sector

health sector 2020

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


More tests, help for doctors and nurses to care for the sick: Parliament approved €3.08 billion in EU aid on Friday.

The EU funds should directly support healthcare systems in EU member states in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative should allow the EU to buy urgent medical supplies, such as masks and respiratory equipment, transport medical equipment and patients in cross-border regions, finance the recruitment of additional healthcare professionals to be deployed to hotspots across the European Union, as well as helping member states to construct mobile field hospitals.

A total of €3.08 billion from the EU budget will be channelled mainly through the Emergency Support Instrument (€2.7 billion) and through rescEU (€380 million).

The package includes additional funds to finance repatriation flights (€45 million) under EU Civil Protection Mechanism to reunite families stranded in third countries, to provide more resources for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (€3.6 million), but also to help Greece deal with increased migratory pressures (€350 million), and to support Albania’s post-earthquake reconstruction (€100 million).

Budget Committee MEPs already called in March for available financial means remaining in the 2020 budget to be mobilised.

Vote results for the package:

Background

Recently, the Commission proposed two Draft Amending Budgets (DAB 1/2020 and 2/2020) as part of a comprehensive set of measures to provide support in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) was created in 2016 to deal with the massive influx of refugees in Greece.

The rescEU medical capacity stock will be hosted by one or several member states. The hosting state will be responsible for procuring the equipment. The Commission will finance 100% of the medical supplies. The Emergency Response Coordination Centre will manage the distribution of the equipment to ensure it goes where it is needed most.

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