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Tackling Covid‑19 together: the EU is helping around the world

Maas, FAC April 2020

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in discussions with his EU counterparts.,, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

22.04.2020 - Article

The EU is mobilising its resources to support less-developed health care Systems. Its efforts are particularly focused on the countries of the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership. Meanwhile, the intensifying conflict in Libya is cause for concern.

The message being communicated by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his fellow EU foreign ministers is clear: the EU can be relied upon in difficult times. At the video conference of the Foreign Affairs Council, the foreign ministers agreed on support for regions especially affected by Covid‑19. This support shows that European solidarity does not end at the EU border and that relations with neighbouring countries are a major priority.

Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership

Together with its EU partners, Germany is helping countries in the Western Balkans with less-developed health care systems to contain the spread of the virus. The European Commission and the member states have jointly mobilised hundreds of millions of euros in emergency aid with the aim of mitigating the impact of the pandemic as rapidly as possible. In addition, the countries of the Western Balkans are to be included in the EU’s collective procurement scheme for medical equipment. Germany also intends to offer further targeted assistance to the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia) in the form of advisory services to strengthen local health care systems. These are to be provided by international health protection experts from the Robert Koch Institute.

Devastating consequences of fighting in Libya

Germany and its EU partners emphatically support UN Secretary-General Guterres’ call for a global humanitarian ceasefire. The Federal Government is urging the Security Council to endorse this demand. With regard to the conflict in Libya the increasing hostilities will have disastrous consequences, especially in the current situation. Germany is therefore using multiple channels to push for a permanent ceasefire in Libya. Today, the Federal Cabinet agreed to recommend substantial German participation in Operation IRINI to the Bundestag. Three weeks ago, the EU Foreign Affairs Council decided to launch this military operation to monitor violations of the arms embargo and stop illegal oil exports from Libya being used to finance arms and human trafficking.

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