Commissioner Mariya Gabriel's monthly update

Apr 02, 2020

During this very challenging time dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, the European Commission is working hard on all fronts to help tackle the emergency and protect people’s health. Science, research and innovation are at the heart of these efforts. Last month we mobilised considerable funding as part of our coordinated response against the spread of COVID-19, including up to €80 million in financial support to vaccine developer CureVac.

We launched a new website that will be updated regularly with the latest information on coronavirus research and funding opportunities.

I gave my support to a call this week for all coronavirus publications and the data supporting them to be made immediately publicly-accessible, so that researchers can have access to the data and information they need. I also took part in a UNESCO-organised dialogue with Ministers on the topic of open science. Open access is already a tangible reality in the EU and we can lead by example thanks to our scientific expertise, technological development and innovation capacity, while cooperating closely with international partners.

Our own scientists at the Joint Research Centre have designed a control material that labs can use to check that their tests accurately detect the virus. This will help to ensure that testing carried out in labs across Europe do not return incorrect results.

JRC experts developed the Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources platform together with the World Health Organization, and have been tracking the outbreak since it first emerged in China. They are also at the forefront of research that’s helping us better understand the spread of the virus, the effectiveness of control measures and the impact on our economies.

As control measures are implemented across the EU, I stand ready to help Member States ensure the continuity of education and training and support their cultural and creative sectors. We will be as flexible as possible when it comes to the implementation of the flagship programmes like Erasmus+, European Solidarity Corps and Creative Europe to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the beneficiaries of those programmes. This is the main message we passed on to Erasmus+ National Agencies during a recent webinar: we are here to support them in their daily work for a smooth running of the programmes, and to provide clarifications and practical advice to participants in light of the COVID-19 outbreak (see latest factsheet).

I’ve also been taking part in video conferences with EU Education Ministers to work together on a coherent EU-wide response to the situation. We have had positive discussions on making sure our children don't miss out on their education, by sharing knowledge on virtual classrooms and online learning. I am working hard with the Croatian Presidency to set up similar meetings with Culture and Sport Ministers. In the meantime, to help ensure continuity in education and training activities, we have launched a webpage gathering the wide range of online learning resources available online. I hope you will find it useful!

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