Exceptional coronavirus support measures of benefit to EU regions

19-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the EU's regions in various ways. Although the virus has spread all over Europe, certain western EU regions have recorded relatively higher numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Most of the deaths from the virus have so far been particularly concentrated in certain Italian, Spanish and French regions. Healthcare systems in many EU regions are under tremendous pressure as they tackle the inflated needs caused by the coronavirus. What is more, the pandemic is also having a severe impact on the European economy. As many economic sectors have reduced their activities, the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to be felt in all EU regions. Although it is still too early to make concrete predictions, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic could well further impede the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the EU by increasing the existing divisions between EU regions. The European Commission has put forward a number of proposals to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on EU territories. The European Parliament has been supportive overall of the Commission's proposals. It triggered urgent procedures in order to approve them swiftly so that EU citizens could benefit quickly from their positive impact. Actions under various EU funds and policy instruments are now geared towards health-related purposes and the reigniting of the economy. In these critical times, cohesion policy could be no exception to the rule and is being drawn on increasingly to provide emergency relief. A number of amendments to the regulation governing the European structural and investment (ESI) funds have been approved by Parliament in order to allow flexible use of the funds in addressing the challenges posed by the crisis. A number of additional regulations and policy instruments meanwhile complement the ESI funds in the fight against the pandemic's negative consequences. Local and regional authorities are at the forefront of the pandemic as they are often responsible for providing much of the emergency response. They can use the newly adopted EU measures to reinforce their coronavirus action and to support their economic sectors.

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the EU's regions in various ways. Although the virus has spread all over Europe, certain western EU regions have recorded relatively higher numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. Most of the deaths from the virus have so far been particularly concentrated in certain Italian, Spanish and French regions. Healthcare systems in many EU regions are under tremendous pressure as they tackle the inflated needs caused by the coronavirus. What is more, the pandemic is also having a severe impact on the European economy. As many economic sectors have reduced their activities, the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to be felt in all EU regions. Although it is still too early to make concrete predictions, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic could well further impede the social, economic and territorial cohesion of the EU by increasing the existing divisions between EU regions. The European Commission has put forward a number of proposals to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on EU territories. The European Parliament has been supportive overall of the Commission's proposals. It triggered urgent procedures in order to approve them swiftly so that EU citizens could benefit quickly from their positive impact. Actions under various EU funds and policy instruments are now geared towards health-related purposes and the reigniting of the economy. In these critical times, cohesion policy could be no exception to the rule and is being drawn on increasingly to provide emergency relief. A number of amendments to the regulation governing the European structural and investment (ESI) funds have been approved by Parliament in order to allow flexible use of the funds in addressing the challenges posed by the crisis. A number of additional regulations and policy instruments meanwhile complement the ESI funds in the fight against the pandemic's negative consequences. Local and regional authorities are at the forefront of the pandemic as they are often responsible for providing much of the emergency response. They can use the newly adopted EU measures to reinforce their coronavirus action and to support their economic sectors.