Following this “Team Europe” approach, the EU combines its resources with those of member states and financial institutions. The funds will support actions at country and regional level to address the immediate health crisis, strengthen health, water and sanitation systems, as well as mitigate the socio-economic impact.

“We are facing an unprecedented health crisis with severe consequences in the EU and ASEAN,” said EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans.

In the spirit of strong cooperation, building on four decades of region-to-region partnership, the EU has mobilised a “Team Europe” package to assist ASEAN and its member states to alleviate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, he added.

The package includes regional support to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as to enhance collaboration between scientific organisations. In ASEAN countries, programmes target civil society support, budget support for economic recovery, health care facilities and testing capacities, as well as humanitarian assistance.

The EU is working with ASEAN on a regional level to exchange experiences in regional response to the crisis, Driesmans noted.

The first virtual EU-ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting held on March 20 agreed that both regions would work together to deal with the coronavirus crisis and its consequences.

The EU has announced a “Team Europe” package of almost 36 billion EUR to support partner countries around the globe.

On the ASEAN regional level, the funds will support the WHO in Southeast Asia with 20 million EUR to strengthen the health system capacity and to respond to the COVID-19 and future diseases.

It also fosters collaboration with ASEAN scientific organisations funded through the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020./. VNA