14 Apr
European Council April 2020 Covid19

Tackling COVID-19: European Council adopts amended EU budget for 2020

The EU is making available almost all the remaining money from this year’s budget to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Council has today (14 April) adopted by written procedure two proposals which amend the EU budget for 2020 in order to free up funds to respond to the COVID-19 crisis

Money is also being made available to help Greece deal with increased migratory pressures, and to support Albania’s post-earthquake reconstruction.

Commitments have been increased overall by €3.57 billion and amount to €172.2 billion. Payments have been increased by €1.6 billion, reaching a total of €155.2 billion.

Draft amending budget No 1 increases commitments by €567 million and payments by €77 million.
€115 million is earmarked for co-financing measures to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes helping member states repatriate stranded citizens as well as obtain personal protective equipment through joint procurements. A further €3.6 million is committed to strengthening the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

€350 million will be made available to support Greece as the country faces increasing migratory pressures.

The funds will be used to develop reception facilities, enhance the asylum systems and procedures, and improve the protection of the external borders of Greece and Bulgaria. Some of these measures will also help combat COVID-19, as migrants and refugees represent a highly vulnerable group.

€100 million is allocated to supporting reconstruction in Albania in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit the country on 26 November 2019.

Other minor adjustments are implemented for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the European Court of Auditors and the Ombudsman.

Draft amending budget No 2 earmarks an additional €3 billion in commitments and €1.53 billion in payments to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

€2.7 billion will be used to fund the provision of emergency healthcare support such as the stockpiling and distribution of essential resources, the creation of temporary hospitals, and the cross-border transportation of patients.

These actions will be channelled through the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI), which was created in 2016 to deal with the massive influx of refugees in Greece. To this end, the Council has in parallel adopted a regulation to reactivate the ESI and broaden its scope.

The remaining €300 million will be used to increase capacities for stockpiling, coordinating and distributing essential medical supplies, such as protective gear and ventilators. Such measures will be financed through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism/rescEU.

By: Estela Martín

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