EU Council approves more funds to address pandemic needs

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement after a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 5, 2020. (European Union/Handout via Xinhua)

Brussels, April 10 (IANS) The Council of the European Union (EU) approved an additional funding of 121.5 million euros ($144.6 million) from the bloc’s budget to address urgent needs related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued on Friday, the EU Council said the additional funds will be used to prepare for digital green certificates to facilitate free movement and develop further the exchange platform for passenger locator forms, reports Xinhua news agency.

The funds will also be used to strengthen the capacity of EU member states to detect and monitor new variants of the coronavirus, while ensuring sufficient testing capacity in the member states.

The Council said the funds will be drawn from the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve, which is intended to help member states and third countries in emergency situations.

They will be channelled through the Emergency Support Instrument and the EU contribution to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

The European Parliament is expected to discuss the package next week, aiming for approval in its plenary at the end of April.

The Covid-19 death toll in Europe surpassed one million on Friday, reaching 1,001,313, according to the dashboard of the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe.

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