The EU and its partners are working relentlessly to ensure a sustainable, green, digital, resilient and inclusive post COVID-19 recovery, first and foremost through international cooperation and multilateral action. We stand firmly behind the UN’s 2030 Agenda and it’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which continue to guide global action as a shared blueprint both for achieving sustainable development and a better recovery from the COVID crisis.

Standing Stronger Together

The COVID crisis has proven to be a real-life stress test for the resilience of national systems in times of crisis.

The EU and its 27 Member States are the biggest global provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA), currently accounting for 46.2% of total ODA by members of OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). We have stepped up our efforts to support developing countries in their response to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to the previous year, our ODA budget went up by 15% (in nominal terms).

The COVID pandemic had created severe challenges for millions of people around the globe. It demanded swift and decisive action. ‘Team Europe’ proved to be the backbone of the response. On 8 April 2020 the EU and its closest partners launched the ‘Team Europe’ package to support EU partner countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences.

The package allowed us to pull together significant resources in record time to support partners in coping with the pandemic. The initial Package more than doubled since its launch, from EUR 20,5 billion to EUR 40,5 billion (January 2021). In January 2021, 65% of the package had been spent.

As the ‘Team Europe’ package is being fully implemented, our COVID response is entering a new phase. Though worldwide recovery is still high on the agenda of the EU, and ‘Team Europe’ partners, the emphasis is shifting to the programming of EU Cooperation & Partnership for 2021-2027 under the new ‘Global Europe’ instrument. This translates into continuous support to our partners in dealing with the long term impact of COVID.

For the EU and its closest partners working as ‘Team Europe’ opened up new avenues of cooperation. Team Europe is there to stay.  By bringing the resources, knowledge and experience of the EU, Member States and development financing institutions together in a political, flexible and visible way we can send even stronger messages of European partnership and solidarity. Europe was always about ‘Standing stronger together’ and in that way Team Europe is completing EU efforts perfectly.

Applying the Team Europe approach is quickly extending to other areas of external action. Team Europe is now used for the ‘Team Europe COVID Package’, ‘Team Europe’ Initiatives, ‘Team Europe’ cooperation on Vaccines, it plays a dominant role in the European Financial Architecture for Development (EFAD), and we see enhanced ‘Team Europe’ cooperation in the preparations of multilateral events.

One area where the Team Europe approach has been very visible and successful is vaccines. On 18 September 2020, the European Union confirmed to COVAX the participation of the European Union as part of a ‘Team Europe’ approach. ‘Team Europe’ is at the forefront of global efforts to ensure international access to vaccines, with a Euro 3.2 billion contribution to the COVAX initiative. COVAX’s goal is to fund the provision, by the end of 2021, of 2 billion doses of vaccine, half of which will be reserved for 92 AMC-eligible countries (the Advance Market Commitment mechanism aims to secure access of COVID-19 vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies at the same time as wealthier nations).