- The EU now conducts a majority of their meetings via videoconference tools.
- The EU continues to support member states with a financial stimulus package.
- Unemployment numbers continue to rise within Europe.
Coronavirus continues to be a serious issue in Europe. At this time Europe is one of the hardest hit continents due to this pandemic. The European Commission has actually announced that it intends to postpone the entry into force of Regulations on Medical Devices (MDR) and In Vitro Devices (IVDR) until 2021. The European Union’s (EU) Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation (IVDR), originally published on May 5, 2017 by the EU Parliament, sets forth new and important requirements for medical device and in vitro diagnostic manufacturers that distribute products in the EU.
The European Parliament for the first time last week met almost fully virtually and digitally to pass financial aid packages of 37 billion Euros.
The current situation in the EU involves a shortage of protective equipment, and over worked and exhausted medical staff, but the health system continues to work. Infected patients with COVID-19 are being transported across borders to alleviate the pressure in certain countries. However, is it smart to bring the infected into another area? The peak within the EU and the US should be felt by mid April where the quarantine measures were introduced. Currently, attention is being drawn to the possibility of gradually reducing restrictions on the population and returning to normal economic activity in many EU nations.
More financial stimulus packages are expected to be approved in the upcoming weeks. A SURE Fund has been announced which will aid the nations with the highest unemployment rates within the EU due to Coronavirus.
Most EU countries have strict restrictions on travel. Italy, one of the hardest hit by virus in Europe, and Spain just added the same measures to close all non-essential manufacturing plants. However Sweden has all their businesses and schools open and seems not to be impacted by the coronavirus at all. Is the nation somehow immune to the virus or just fortunate from a lack of travel to and from the country?
EU closed all borders for non-residents. The same practices are implemented in the US and Canada. Goods are still allowed. The European Commission has published Guidelines to Member States on health-related border management measures, while goods continue to be delivered both by ground and air.
The European Commission has also proposed allocating 37 billion euros from the unspent EU budget and the Cohesion Fund. The money will be allocated by member states for their health systems and to support companies and workers facing hardship. Each member state has a certain amount of money to distribute.
As far as EU candidate countries are concerned, the EU has announced that it will help Albania and Northern Macedonia meet the urgent needs of their public health systems with up to € 4 million each, Bosnia and Herzegovina seven million. Montenegro will receive up to € 3 million, Kosovo up to € 5 million and Serbia up to € 15 million (the most affected country so far). The Commission also includes the Western Balkans in EU initiatives to combat the coronavirus crisis, such as joint procurement schemes for protective personal equipment, and has accelerated the implementation of a project with the European center for disease prevention and control.
New measures are expected to be introduced depending on the trajectory of the virus and to further stimulate EU member states economies, in order to ride the recession and to get back to a reasonable economic scenario by the third quarter.