EP to vote on a €3 billion emergency support for national healthcare systems

Updated 12:05 PM
FILE PHOTO: Medical staff wait for a patient, infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), to be embarked onboard a medicalized TGV high speed train at the station in Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2020. Patrick Hertzog/Pool via REUTERS

The European Parliament is voting on new measures to mobilise €3 billion of targeted support for health care systems in EU regions that have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus.

In a statement, the European Parliament said that the initiative serves to coordinate resource distribution and cross-border cooperation, to help with the construction of field hospitals and coordinate and financially support the transportation of coronavirus patients to hospitals with free capacity.

The European Parliament said that money will also be used to directly purchase and distribute medical supplies such as respirators, protective equipment and reusable masks.

The funds come from all remaining available means in 2020 budget.

  • €2.7 billion will be put into the EU’s Emergency Support Instrument
  • €380 million will go to the rescEU reserve of medical equipment

Member states and people or foundations can also contribute financially.

The EU’s Emergency Support Instrument enables immediate EU assistance and it has been designed so that it can be used alongside existing measures.

The European Commission has already proposed to activate it for two years to help with the coronavirus emergency.

On the other hand, the rescEU is a european reserve, set up to assist when the resources of member states are insufficient. Because of Covid19, rescEU has stockpiled medical equipment, such as ventilators and protective masks, to help countries facing shortages.

The EP said that an expert task force will monitor ongoing developments in close cooperation with national health authorities and operations will start as soon as Parliament and Council approve.

Later on…

In Friday’s extraordinary plenary session, the European Parliament endorsed the “Corona Response Investment Initiative Plus” (CRII+) package proposed by the European Commission on 2 April by means of an urgency procedure.

The approved proposals are:

To prevent shortages or delays in getting key medical devices on the market, Parliament decided to postpone the application of the Medical Devices Regulation.
Parliament adopted the Commission proposal on Friday, by urgent procedure with 693 votes to 1 and 2 abstentions, allowing the application of the Medical Devices Regulation to be postponed by one year until 26 May 2021.

Additional reporting: Sephora Francalanza

If you want to be the first to receive the latest news on the coronavirus in Malta, download the Newsbook APP here.