European Commission boosts budget for repatriation flights, rescEU medical stockpile

  • 2020-03-27
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The European Commission on Friday proposed to make 75 million euros from the EU budget available to help member states repatriate EU nationals and to increase the budget of the rescEU medical stockpile.

Thanks to repatriation flights organized through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and co-financed by the EU, 2,312 people have been already repatriated to Europe from China, Japan, the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Georgia, the Philippines and Cabo Verde since the beginning of the outbreak. More than 80 further repatriation flights are planned in the coming days, the European Commission said.

Under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU contributes to the costs of repatriation flights that carry nationals of more than one member state, based on a principle of solidarity.

This European Commission proposal will increase the total budget of the first ever rescEU stockpile of medical equipment -- ventilators, protective masks and essential medical gear -- to 80 million euros.

The European Commission is putting forward a draft amending budget -- a proposal to reorganize part of the EU spending for the year in line with the latest priorities -- to secure funding for these operations.

The draft amending budget foresees 350 million euros of migration management assistance to Greece, to add to the extra 350 million euros in emergency assistance already being deployed, in line with the commitment of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her visit to Greece.

Additionally, the draft amending budget also foresees 3.6 million euros for the the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control to enhance the capacity to identify, assess and communicate threats to human health from communicable diseases, and in particular to increase the expert capacity in the light of the coronavirus crisis.

Altogether 100 million euros is to be given to help Albania recover from the devastating earthquake on November 26, 2019, part of the 115 million euro European Commission pledge and the total pledge of 1.15 billion euros.

Of the assets, 3.3 million euros is to be given in additional funding for the European Public Prosecutors' Office (EPPO) to boost its 2020 budget. The money will, for example, enable EPPO to recruit more quickly qualified staff and to buy IT equipment to start processing the first cases. Together with case-management support for EPPO mobilized already earlier this year, EPPO's total funding increase for 2020 is therefore at 48 percent.