In its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union will secure financial support to partner countries amounting to more than 15.6 billion euros from its existing external action resources.
A joint communication on the Team Europe — Global EU Response to COVID-19 program indicates that the EU is procuring small-scale health infrastructure and equipment, worth 90 million euros, for Turkey under the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The document does not include further information on whether the EU will supply direct financial resources to Turkey for its fragile economy.
The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey was set up in 2015 in response to the European Council’s call for significant additional funding to support Syrian refugees in Turkey. It manages 6 billion euros to be mobilized in two equal tranches of 3 billion euros each.
According to the European Commission document, the Team Europe response will combine resources from the EU, member states, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In that regard, the EU will secure in total 3.07 billion euros for southern and the eastern partner countries, and 800 million euros for the Western Balkans and Turkey. The EU announced that it has mobilized considerable support for the social and economic recovery of the Western Balkans amounting to 374.5 million euros since the beginning of the pandemic, including 46.5 million for Albania, 73.5 million for Bosnia and Herzegovina, 63 million for Kosovo, 50 million for Montenegro, 63 million for North Macedonia and 78.5 million for Serbia.
“Together with our partners, we are making sure that the substantial EU funding already allocated to them is targeted to help them deal with the impact of COVID-19, similarly to what we are doing within Europe. This will allow EU action to be fast, adapted and operational,” the EU External Action Service stated.
“A priority for EU’s global solidarity in fighting the coronavirus is to assist the most vulnerable in developing countries and conflict zones,” Josep Borrell, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy and vice president of the European Commission, said.
According to the joint communication, the EU action will focus on the emergency response to the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian needs; strengthen health, water and sanitation systems as well as its partners’ research capacities to deal with the pandemic and their preparedness; and address the immediate social and economic consequences of the pandemic crisis.
To this end, the funding is divided into those three categories: 502 million euros for the urgent, short-term emergency response; 2.8 billion euros to support research, health and water systems in partner countries; and 12.28 billion euros to address the economic and social consequences.
In accordance with the EU plan, 3.25 billion euros will be channelled to Africa, including 2.06 billion for sub-Saharan Africa and 1.19 billion for the Northern African countries from the overall package of 15.6 billion euros. The package also includes 1.22 billion euros for Asia and the Caribbean and Pacific region.
Moreover, the EU will provide 6 million euros to strengthen Iran’s health sector via purchasing essential pharmaceuticals, training essential health personnel and awareness raising campaigns on personal hygiene and sanitation. A 240 million euro package has also been adopted to support vulnerable local households and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.