The European Union (EU) and its Member States are working with partners around the world to tackle the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the effects of the crisis. The EU’s response follows a ‘Team Europe’ approach, aimed at saving lives by providing quick and targeted support. This includes improving the preparedness for and response to the outbreak, and funding research to support the development of coronavirus vaccines and medication to help those affected.
Sri Lanka’s very low number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 so far is impressive. To support Sri Lankan efforts further, the European Union is targeting three sectors: health, agriculture and tourism.
For health, the EU will be providing EUR 2 million for equipment and medical supplies to be procured by the World Health Organisation and to strengthen laboratory networks in the country. Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector will benefit from EUR 16.5 million funding. In these trying times, maintaining open trade and safeguarding the supply chains, especially agricultural and health supply chains, is essential to the well-being of the population.
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This funding will take into account the impact of Covid-19 by mobilising more private capital in rural areas and by assisting small businesses and workers in the Uva and Central Provinces. Finally, the European Union will support the Sri Lankan tourism industry with a EUR 3.5 million grant, in particular the smaller operators and their employees. Some of the assistance will be provided immediately and the rest will be delivered later in the year and will continue thereafter.
This was discussed during a meeting between the EU Delegation, the Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Task Force Chair Basil Rajapaksa on 08 April 2020, during which they also commended the Government of Sri Lanka for the close cooperation in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its citizens and European tourists.
The Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the EU Delegation said “We are impressed with the low number of cases in Sri Lanka so far. The European Union and its Member States are looking at the best way to support these efforts, and have mobilised EUR 15.6 billion overall to tackle the consequences of COVID-19, and to improve preparedness further. It is only together that we can fight the spread of coronavirus and alleviate its human and economic consequences around the world.”