The corona virus is everywhere across the world. To defeat it, a global approach and cross-border coordination is needed.
It is not enough to fight the virus at home; we have to take action beyond our borders, otherwise the threat will remain.
As Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated:
“A priority for the EU´s global solidarity in fighting the corona virus is to assist the most vulnerable in developing countries and conflict zones.”
The first priority to manifest the EU’s global solidarity is to assist the most vulnerable, for whom the consequences of the pandemic are devastating. Forcibly displaced people around the world find themselves caught between war and the pandemic and countries with weak health care systems, without access to clean water for all, without functioning safety nets and where conflicts have destroyed infrastructure, are the most vulnerable.
In Europe, for example, we have on average 35 times more doctors per head than in Africa, not to mention intensive care units, or equipment like respirators.
In countries in which you have to make your living every day in an informal economy, staying at home can mean starvation.
As Ricardo Hausman, Economist at the Kennedy School said:
“If you have a 10 % chance of getting infected when going out to look for your daily income or a 100 % chance of starving if you stay at home, the answer is not hard to find.”
For all these reasons, the European Commission and the European External Action Service launched in April, together with EU Member States and their implementing agencies and development finance institutions, a 20 billion euro package to support partner countries in the fight against the corona virus pandemic and its consequences.
In particular, the EU’s contribution to the global response to COVID-19 has placed special emphasis on Africa and the EU’s neighbourhood – the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partner countries, the Middle East and North Africa, parts of Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The “Team Europe” package not only seeks immediate solutions, but also looks to the medium and long term needs for recovery, with special attention to the achievement of its Sustainable Development Goals. It focuses on:
- Responding to the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian need. This will include supporting the response plans of the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, and providing humanitarian support in affected countries by: Attending to the emergency health care needs and protective equipment and supporting water, sanitation and hygiene.
- Strengthening health and sanitation systems, as well as partner countries’ capacities and preparedness to deal with the pandemic by: Investing in research, labs and testing and health care systems.
- 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.
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