The coronavirus: EU-financed projects and COVID-19

As the coronavirus spreads worldwide, its impact on EU-financed projects also increases. Naturally, we are keeping a close eye on all latest developments regarding COVID-19. In this article, we answer questions on the effect of the virus on projects and offer tips on how to deal with it.

While countless organisations are working hard to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the number of questions on its impact on EU-financed projects rises. What can you do to best keep your project on track? This is what we know so far.  

How does the coronavirus affect my project? 

Now that the infections are reported from all but a few Member States, the virus influences all aspects of European cooperation. Events are being cancelled or postponed, meetings are reconsidered. EU-financed projects are no exception.  

For all occasions where partners and experts normally meet, it is now important to determine together whether or not there are risks to the time, location or group configuration. 

This concerns project sessions as well as knowledge exchange. From partner meetings to local gatherings, congresses and symposia. Communicate about this within the project, so that no one runs into surprises. 

Where do I go for information? 

The impact and security measures vary per EU country. It is therefore best to first consult your relevant national authorities for further information.  

For updates about other EU countries, please refer the information provided by the European Centre for Disease Control. Are you planning a trip abroad? Please see this overview of travel advice or contact the organising body. 

Of course, the World Health Organization also continuously shares up-to-date information about the coronavirus. 

Will my expenses be reimbursed? 

Clearly the virus makes for an exceptional situation. Normally, the costs for cancelled project activities (e.g. flights, venues or catering) are not considered eligible. Programmes may be more flexible in this case, however.  

Decisions on how to deal with reimbursement are currently taken on the individual programme level. Multiple programmes have now drawn up guidelines for this. Keep track of your programme’s communication channels for the latest information.  

What to do with already planned meetings? 

The most important thing you can do now is to anticipate. This reduces the risk of unpleasant surprises and prevents miscommunication with project partners.  

Therefore, please check if already made travel bookings can be cancelled if necessary. In addition, many organisations set up their own policy with regard to (international) travel – please inquire about this. Don’t forget to involve the project partners in your actions. 

How can I protect my project’s progress? 

Look into possibilities of rescheduling already planned activities and meetings. We also recommend exploring online communication methods. Try to have more video calls, for instance. Or replace a workshop with a video presentation. 

Does the virus cause significant problems for your project’s progress?  Be sure to contact your programme secretariat via your lead partner.  

Do you have a question? 

And of course, for all cases: follow regulations to limit the risk of contamination and keep communicating well with you project partners.  

Do you have a question about the impact of the coronavirus on EU-financed projects? Feel free to ask us.