The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak constitutes a grave emergency and represents a situation unprecedented since the end of the Second World War. Especially for the most deprived, the crisis risks disrupting the support provided by the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). The impact of this crisis shows that specific measures are urgently needed to protect the most vulnerable from the disease itself and also to ensure that FEAD assistance still reaches them, despite the current constraints of the crisis. In order to properly address the challenges faced by public authorities and partner organisations in the implementation of the fund during the crisis, the Commission proposes to amend the FEAD Regulation. The proposed changes are necessary so that managing authorities, partner organisations and other actors working to implement the fund can react swiftly to the urgent needs of the target groups.
Faced with many barriers and less able to maintain social and physical distance, persons with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and falling severely ill as a result of the disease. However, in the EU they have not been explicitly included in priority groups for vaccination
COVID-19 has blatantly exposed all the cracks and fissures in the European health systems and shown the EU to be unprepared for dealing with major health emergencies. But the first building blocks of the future European Health Union, recently proposed by the Commission, look promising and may give the EU the right weapons to fight pandemics in the future
The European Economic and Social Committee backs up the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative of the European Commission. The initiative is aimed at promoting investment in the healthcare systems of the European Member States and other sectors of their economies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the EU would mobilise cash reserves, i.e. unspent pre-financing for EU funds, and provide financial support.