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EU staff step up donations to help Europe’s most vulnerable as second Covid wave hits
Civil servants working for the European Union institutions have expressed their determination to step up their personal donations in support of charities providing vital services as a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic creates ever greater needs among Europeans and greater pressure on public resources.
In an online donors’ assembly this week, organisers of the EU Staff COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund welcomed the raising of close to €400,000 in personal donations from colleagues in just six months of the fund’s existence. Twenty projects in eight EU countries have already benefitted from grants administered by the King Baudouin Foundation.
The donor assembly heard testimony from expert researchers on how the crisis has particularly affected women, the young and the unemployed and has heightened the need for assistance among those who fall through gaps in existing public welfare safety nets.
“The need for humanitarian support is clearly growing, the health situation is far from improving, health-workers and volunteers are exhausted, and fatigue grows in donor communities and society in general,” the fund’s organisers said on Friday.
“EU Staff are more determined than ever to reaffirm their solidarity to their fellow Europeans and to step up their action.”
In debates which will feed into future strategy, donors proposed several priorities: social isolation, mental health, young jobseekers and gender inequality. They favoured a focus, where possible, on interventions that promote planetary health, a green recovery and local and sustainable solutions - key values of EU Staff for Climate, the association which established the fund.
Bruno Mola of the fund’s management committee told the assembly that their personal donations showed that EU staff “stand as citizens among citizens” to help those in need. It was also a way to “reaffirm our core motivation as EU civil servants, which is serving the public good and the community of EU citizens beyond national borders and particular interests”.
The fund was launched by employees from the cross-institutional group EUStaff4Climate in May. It called on staff across EU institutions to pledge at least 2% of their salary every month. Money raised has supported projects in some of the hardest-hit regions of the union, notably in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.
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