EU to earmark 140 million euros to Eastern Partnership countries in fight with COVID-19
11:17 | 31.03.2020 Category: Political
Chisinau, 31 March /MOLDPRES/- The European Commission supports the Eastern Partnership countries and has allocated 140 million euros for the most pressing needs of these countries, including the Republic of Moldova.
According to a release, the European Commission will forward and use existing tools worth up to 700 million euros to help mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
“These are very difficult times not only for the EU, but also for the partner countries. We do our best to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on human life and existence. We meet immediate needs of the health system and the longer-term needs of the most vulnerable groups in society and small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of economies in the six countries, ”said the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Olivér Várhelyi.
Shortly, the Commission will support the provision of medical devices and personal equipment. The European Commission is collaborating with the World Health Organization and is allocating 30 million euros to ensure that these necessary materials are jointly purchased and efficiently distributed to the health systems of the six countries in the coming weeks. Moreover, the funds will support national health administrations to train medical and laboratory staff, and implement awareness-raising measures.
Also, the commission has provided more than 11.3 million euros in the form of small grants for civil society organizations. The commission has announced that it is working closely with relevant international financial institutions and funding institutions in EU member states and will launch a new 100 million-euro- support program to help SMEs, including self-employed individuals, to easily access credits and boost business after crisis.
In the current crisis, the EU has mobilized its main risk reduction instrument, the European Fund for Sustainable Development, worth 1.55 billion euros, and 500 million will be provided to the countries neighboring the EU. This will rapidly provide liquidity to these countries, including through working capital, trade financing or debt servicing moratoriums. This support is in addition to the ongoing macro-financial assistance support for partners, including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
For his part, Prime Minister Ion Chicu thanked the European Commission and Olivér Várhelyi "for the support offered and for the high spirit of solidarity".