The Commission completed the payments of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) assistance to tackle the coronavirus health emergency to 19 countries for a total amount of almost €385.5 million. This comes in addition to €132.7 million paid in 2020 to the Member States that requested an EUSF advance payment. 17 Member States and 3 candidate countries had requested the EUSF support: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Spain; Albania, Montenegro and Serbia.
In the context of the COVID-19 health emergency, the financial support of the EUSF finances the medical assistance, the purchase and administration of vaccines, personal protective equipment and medical devices, costs of healthcare, laboratory analyses, emergency support to the population and measures of prevention, monitoring and control of the spread of disease, thus safeguarding the public health.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “The European Union stood together against the coronavirus pandemic and made a proof of solidarity in a difficult moment. The EUSF is a clear symbol of this, giving a helping hand to countries to cope with the unprecedented health emergency, both to EU Member States and countries in the process of joining the EU.”
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, added: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been standing by our partners in the Western Balkans. I am pleased that Albania, Montenegro and Serbia have been able to take advantage of the EUSF support. This is yet another demonstration of the EU's commitment to support the region in the fight against the coronavirus, where possible with access to the same assistance mechanisms as those for our Member States.”
Among the candidate countries that had requested EUSF support, Albania and Montenegro have received financial support at the end of 2021, while for Serbia the signature of the Delegation Agreement is ongoing, and the EUSF financial assistance is expected to be paid out soon after.
As part of the exceptional EU response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) was extended in March 2020 to also cover major public health emergencies.
In March 2021, the European Commission proposed an overall package of almost €530 million of financial support under the EUSF for 17 Member States and 3 accession countries to fight the COVID-19 major health emergency. On 20 May 2021, the Council and the European Parliament approved this proposal.
The three accession countries submitted their full application for EUSF support in June 2020. In the Summer of 2021, the Commission adopted the implementing decisions awarding the EUSF financial contribution to the beneficiary countries. In accordance with the EUSF Regulation, while EU countries manage the financial support under “shared management”, candidate countries need to sign a Delegation Agreement with the Commission.
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