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Staff in EU institutions mark Europe Day 2021 with Covid fundraising drive

Faros, Athens, Greece
17:56 07/05/2021

Staff in the EU institutions have launched a fundraising drive for Europe Day 2021 on 9 May, urging colleagues to join them in supporting people across the continent hardest hit by the pandemic.

Set up in 2020, the EU Staff COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has resulted in more than 1,200 civil servants personally donating over €600,000 in the past year, benefitting charities hardest hit by the coronavirus. These include Romanian project Bunl Samaritean (pictured, below).

Bunul Samaritain

In the latest fund boost, organisers aim to double the number of donors by asking contributors to sign up a colleague to the cause. “We wanted to show that the EU staff as individuals care about Europeans in need,” said European Commission policy officer Bruno Mola, one of the fund’s founders.

Recalling the view of Robert Schuman – one of the EU’s founding fathers – that Europe would be built through concrete actions that bring people together, Mola added: “Our initiative’s ambition is to participate in the creation of this European solidarity, which is why we call on our donors to help us reach out to other colleagues who might not have heard about our fund yet.”

Schuman was also an example in showing how bigger challenges are better addressed together, said Mola. “The pandemic is the greatest collective event most of us have experienced in our lifetime; I cannot see any way out of it if not through a reinforced cooperation at European level and beyond.”

Faros, Athens

Collaboration is key for the future, he continued. “There will not be long-lasting recovery unless this is based on a renewed solidarity within our societies and a bold commitment to address the greatest challenge of all, which is the climate and ecological crisis.”

In a further tribute to the reforming French politician, Mola added: “Schuman was a visionary. We need to be as visionary now.” 

Fundraising aiding 35 organisations in Europe

The solidarity fund has so far benefitted 35 organisations in 11 countries, it announced in a statement. They include Faros (pictured above and main image), which helps unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Athens during the pandemic, and Pe Stop, providing masks and menstrual products for Romanian women hard hit by the economic slump triggered by the pandemic (pictured, below).

Pe Stop, Romania

Managed by Belgium’s leading philanthropy institution the King Baudouin Foundation (KBF), the fund has longer term ambitions to help the continent ‘build back better’ after the crisis, fostering a more sustainable economy and society in Europe.

David O’Sullivan, a former senior EU official and chair of the management committee, said that working with the KBF ensured that staff donations swiftly reach those most in need on the frontline of the crisis. The dedication and enthusiasm of the organisers, he added, “show that European public servants do care about the fate of their fellow European citizens.”

Written by Sarah Crew