The European Commission proposed to activate the European Union's Emergency Support Instrument on 2 April to directly support the healthcare systems of the EU countries in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, the Council gave its fast approval, so that the €2.7 billion instrument can immediately begin providing direct support where most needed. The instrument will be used together with other EU tools, for example the rescEU medical stockpile, which is in parallel being increased by €300 million in addition to the initially proposed allocation of €80 million.
Commissioner Johannes Hahn, in charge of the budget, said: “The EU budget has always been the EU's main solidarity tool to address crisis situations and swiftly assist those in need in Europe and beyond. Today, we are mobilising it again to the full support of those at the frontline– doctors, nurses, the sick and their families. This contribution will also be instrumental in tracking the disease in solidarity, making more testing available and supporting relevant medical research.”
At a first stage, the Emergency Support Instrument for the healthcare sector will help fund urgent medical supply needs, such as masks and respirators, the transportation of medical equipment and patients in cross-border regions, the recruitment of additional healthcare workforce that can be deployed to hot spots across the Union, as well as the construction of mobile field hospitals.