On 22 September, EU Member States reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining a functioning Schengen zone and Internal Market. The previous week, Single Market Commissioner Thierry Breton had warned that “unilateral restrictions on the free movement of goods and services would not be acceptable and would seriously hamper our collective recovery.” Freight traffic should keep flowing “to avoid unacceptable situations that we witnessed during the spring, when some supply chains were cut by sudden border controls.” (Sources: Agence Europe, POLITICO Pro)
In her State of the Union address on 16 September, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for a debate in the Council to rethink the competencies of the EU in the healthcare sector. This might also include stronger EU health agencies, and a new agency for advanced biomedical research and development. (Source: DeHavilland)
On 17 September, the Commission published the allocations of recovery funding by Member State. Italy, Spain and France are set to be the main beneficiaries of the €312,5 billion fund, followed by Poland and Germany. (Source: POLITICO Pro)
Four new Member States have joined the EU’s rescEU medical equipment reserve programme. Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Sweden joined Germany and Romania as host states for the new programme that aims to build up common stocks of lifesaving protective equipment for health emergencies.
Recommendations for a common EU testing approach for COVID-19 were published by the Commission on 18 September. The recommendations set out concrete actions to support countries in the planning and organisation of their testing efforts during the different stages of the pandemic.