President von der Leyen participates in 30-strong EU-India leaders’ meeting
Tomorrow, Saturday 8 May, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will join the President of the European Council, the 27 EU Heads of State or Government, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, for an EU-India leaders’ meeting by videoconference, hosted by the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa. High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell will also participate. Bringing together all members of the European Council and Prime Minister Modi for the first time demonstrates the strength of the EU-India Strategic Partnership, and the mutual willingness to advance our relations. The meeting takes place in the context of a dramatic coronavirus situation in India, to which the European Union has responded in full and swift solidarity. Through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission has coordinated and co-financed the delivery by 16 Member States of oxygen, ventilators, medicines and personal protective equipment in one of the largest ever responses of the Mechanism. The value of this is estimated at over €100 million. The European Commission has also made a financial contribution of €2.2 million to the World Health Organisation’s to increase testing and patient care capacities in India. The leaders’ meeting will provide an opportunity to convey the EU’s continued solidarity and willingness to support India at this difficult time. Leaders are also expected to take steps to strengthen EU-India trade and investment links, to agree a partnership on connectivity, and to discuss the fight against climate change, technology cooperation, and foreign and security policy challenges. President von der Leyen, President Michel and Prime Minister Costa will hold a joint press conference following the conclusion of the meeting, foreseen at 16:00 CET (15:00 local), which will be streamed live on EbS. More information on the meeting is available on the website.
State aid: Commission approves €13 million Latvian scheme to support pig farmers affected by coronavirus outbreak
The European Commission has approved a €13 million Latvian scheme to support pig farmers in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The scheme consists of two sub-measures: (i) support in the form of direct grants to partially cover the losses caused by the decrease in demand of pork and live animals and the subsequent oversaturation of the market; and (ii) support for uncovered fixed costs. The aim of the scheme is to help the beneficiaries continue their activities during and after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Latvian scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, with respect to the first measure, the aid will not exceed €225,000 per beneficiary, as provided by the Temporary Framework for companies active in the primary production of agricultural products. As regards the second measure, (i) the aid will not exceed €10 million per beneficiary, and (ii) it will available to undertakings facing a decline in turnover during the eligible period of at least 30% compared to the same period of 2019. Finally, support under the overall scheme will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the scheme under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.62631 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
Health Union: High-level event on the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health impact has been overwhelming, with consequences felt across society. To highlight the relevance and complexity of addressing this challenge, and generally the importance attached to mental health, the European Commission is holding an online high-level event on 10 May, entitled “Mental health and the pandemic: living, caring, acting!”. The event will be an opportunity to bring together speakers from different policy and practice areas, as well as to hear from those most affected, including young people, those with pre-existing mental health problems and their carers, and to share examples and promising practices with a view to ensuring that health systems are well equipped, now and in the future and to map the way forward. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides said: “Mental health is a lifetime commitment for me. As we make strides to contain COVID-19 and build a strong European Heath Union, it is paramount that we take stock of the mental health consequences of the pandemic, that we jointly reflect on what we know and to explore what we need to understand and do better. It’s abundantly clear that mental health matters, now more than ever, and we stand side-by-side with EU countries, healthcare professionals and all those affected to take action to address one of today’s most pressing challenges and to give voice to those most affected by this unprecedented health crisis.” The Commission supports national health priorities that protect mental health, prevent mental illness and improve access to treatment. The event takes place during the European Mental Health Awareness Week and will be livestreamed. More details, including the agenda and registration links, are available here.
Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.