by BERNAMA/ pic by BLOOMBERG
THE European Union’s “Team Europe” package, worth more than €20 billion to support partner countries in the fight against COVID-19, has also benefited vulnerable communities in Malaysia, said Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the EU to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez.
She said in Malaysia, Team Europe supports in the delivery of food, water or basic healthcare to vulnerable and marginalised communities here including the urban poor, migrant workers, indigenous communities, refugees, stateless people, people in detention, and women, children and people with a disability.
The Team Europe package was launched on April 8, with combined resources from the EU, its Member States, and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Through this effort, the EU aimed to focus on people most at risk in the most vulnerable countries in Africa, the EU’s neighbouring countries, the Middle East and North Africa, parts of Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, Fernandez said under the Spotlight Initiative, the EU and the United Nations (UN) are prioritising activities to counter increased domestic violence, boost prevention and support survivors and organisations in 24 countries worldwide, including Malaysia.
“In fact, more than 14 million euros will be targeted to this endeavour,” she told Bernama in a reply, adding that the pandemic has heightened the risk of violence against women and girls.
Fernandez said at the home front, the EU is mobilising all means at its disposal to support Member States in tackling the current coronavirus pandemic, with the protection of EU citizens as its main priority.
Among others, the EU directly mobilised emergency EU funds for the healthcare sector to help meet patient and staff needs.
“(There’s) Joint procurement of medical and protective equipment to ensure patients and frontline health care workers get the equipment they need, using both EU and national budgets – to maximise purchasing clout and secure necessary medical supplies as quickly as possible,” she said.
Fernandez said among the Member States, countries also look out for each other and do what they can to offer assistance during this challenging time.
Among others, Denmark sent ventilators and a mobile hospital to Italy, which was badly hit by the pandemic, and Romania sent teams of volunteer doctors and nurses to help Italy.
Fernandez added that the EU will also host an online conference on May 4 for donors who wish to fund the creation and global deployment of a vaccine for COVID-19, in close coordination with the World Health Organisation.
“We are as humans all together in this. We will only really have a solution when we have an effective vaccine and good treatments. It has to be, and will be, a global effort. We hope Malaysia will be part of this,” she said.