The European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs presented on April 8 the European Union (EU) reaction to support the efforts made by partner countries to face the COVID-19 pandemic, with financial support of more than 15.6 billion Euros from existing external action resources. EU action will mainly aim to strengthen health, water supply and sanitation systems, research and pandemic preparedness capacities, and to mitigate the socio-economic consequences of the crisis for partner countries. For the southern neighborhood countries, the EU has guaranteed about 2.1 billion euros in aid.
“The virus knows no borders. It is a global challenge and requires strong international cooperation. We all know that we can only counter the global coronavirus pandemic when we stand together”, said European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen. “We are doing everything we can to help our citizens, but we must also help our partners in our direct neighborhood and beyond”, added the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and the security policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Jospeh Borrell.
For Tunisia, on March 28, the EU released immediate budget support of € 250 million in the form of grants. In addition, the EU is strengthening the current “Health / Essaha Aziza” program, tripling the funds (donations) allocated to it (an increase of from 20 million euros in 13 Governorates to 60 million euros for all Governorates).
On March 29, a joint Morocco-EU declaration announced € 150 million in EU support to Morocco for the COVID-19 Special Pandemic Management Fund created at the initiative of King Mohammed VI. In addition, the European Commission has committed to maximum flexibility to redirect 300 million euros from the funds allocated to Morocco in the framework of bilateral aid.
On March 31, the European Commission announced more than € 240 million in additional aid to help Syrian refugees and vulnerable people in Jordan (€ 70 million) and Lebanon (€ 168 million) and Iraq. This support comes within the framework of the European Regional Fund in response to the Syrian crisis (EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis) which now has a total assistance of almost 2 billion Euros.
On April 8, the EU announced financial support of € 75 million to the health sector in Algeria as part of efforts to fight the coronavirus