2 June, 2020

Cyprus Joins Collective EU Action Against COVID-19

Ever since Cyprus became a full member of the European Union on 1 May 2004, it has embraced its European identity and engaged fully in all the initiatives of the various EU institutions. In fact, that is precisely the essence of the European Union: a firm belief that ‘together we’re stronger’. Nowhere is this approach more needed than in the fight against COVID-19 on the one hand, and the efforts to restart the economy across the member states on the other hand.

Even as lockdowns are gradually being lifted, the transition period to complete and unrestricted movement and travel might prove to be equally challenging, if not more. On its official website, the European Union recently outlined how the member states were cooperating, and how they plan on responding collectively to COVID-19, in order to create a safer environment and bolster the economy across the whole EU. The key points of the EU’s collective response are summarized below.

Among many other aspects – such as the freedom to move, study, live and work in any member state – this joint action in line with the fundamental vision of the European Union is what makes Cyprus citizenship so appealing to investors who choose to apply for the Cyprus Investment Programme.

EU Membership in Action

One of the first issues member states were compelled to address was the repatriation of citizens who were outside their country – for whatever reason – at the time of the outbreak and when lockdowns were implemented.

At this point in time, given that public health is not only the top priority but also inextricably linked to healthy economic activity, the EU members have identified four key areas where working together will bring better and hopefully quicker results:

  • Containing the virus: Guided by the science which forms the basis of the guidelines of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and an advisory panel of epidemiologists and virologists, the whole EU has agreed on a temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May.
  • Supply of medical equipment: This covers everything from joint procurement and the conversion of manufacturing facilities to accelerate the production of personal protective equipment and testing kits, and their distribution as needed, to creating a joint so-called ‘rescEU’ stockpile of medical equipment.
  • Research for treatments and vaccines: Apart from mobilising over €400 million to support the speedy development of vaccines, new treatments, diagnostic tests and innovative solutions to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, the EU has launched the  European COVID-19 data platform for the rapid collection and sharing of data. The EU also participated in the Coronavirus Global Response which raised €7.4 billion to kick-start the global cooperation.  
  • Supporting the economy: To mitigate the socio-economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak, €540 billion have been allocated to the support of healthcare systems, as well as to provide financial safety nets for workers and businesses, to ensure economic continuity and to finance a recovery plan.

EU Solidarity in Action

While most will agree that countries around the world were ill-prepared for a pandemic of this scale and severity, it has given EU members an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity. As the crisis peaked in different member states at different times, others stepped in to top up the immediately needed supply of medical equipment and even sent teams of doctors to provide assistance.  

Fighting Disinformation

While social media has proved to be a most valuable tool in reaching broad segments of the global population, sadly, it is also a source of misinformation. To protect its citizens – and others – against dubious sources of information, the EU has launched and continuously updates a special page at www.EUvsDisinfo.eu to expose misleading narratives that are in circulation.

At a time marked by isolation and social distancing, it is interesting to note that all the above are helping bring the members of the European family closer together.

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Yiannos Trisokkas

Yiannos Trisokkas is the Director of Casamont Cyprus Ltd overseeing operations in Cyprus and Greece. He has also been the Managing Partner of Henley & Partners Cyprus Ltd since 2013, with Greece’s Golden Visa Program within his ambit. He serves as the Chairman of the Real Estate Committee and Member of the Management Board of Henley & Partners.