The European Union will allocate 220 million euros for the transfer of coronavirus patients from one country to another.
Ever since this spring, EU member states, each struggling to handle its own coronavirus crisis at home, answered the Commission's call for solidarity. Consequently, protection equipment was donated, medical teams were sent to countries in need, patients were treated in neighbouring countries and European citizens blocked abroad were repatriated. As for Romania, it sent medical teams to Italy in early April, to support their colleagues overwhelmed by the big number of patients. At the same time, the EU set up rescEU, a joint European reserve of medical equipment for emergency situations, financed exclusively by the Commission, to help member countries deal with the pandemic. Germany and Romania were the first countries to host this reserve and purchase the necessary equipment. The EU also extended its support to include countries in the Eastern Partnership and critical regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. There have been constant meetings in Brussels and conference calls held by leaders of the EU countries.
The most recent online meeting was held on Thursday evening, to decide the allocation of 220 million euros to finance the transfer of patients across borders within the bloc, to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed, as Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations spike. EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said that, in order to facilitate these transfers, member states must supply accurate, real time data. Moreover, she sent five key messages to the member states: exchange information, exchange expertise, increase testing capacity, tracing and follow-up, and also vaccination. The Commission is also intensifying its efforts to get potential vaccines against the novel coronavirus, which will be made available to all countries at the same time. There will be a fair distribution of vaccines once available. That would be done in proportion to population, the European official explained.
President Klaus Iohannis asked, on behalf of Romania, for more money for the diversification of the sources of these vaccines: ”As regards the vaccine against Covid-19, once available, hopefully as soon as possible, it will be distributed to all member states. However, increasing the financing available under the emergency aid instrument is also needed, in order to have more vaccine supply sources.”
Another message sent after Thursday’s conference call was that, while fighting the pandemic, economies must be kept functional, borders must be kept open and the single European market must be protected. (Translated by Elena Enache)