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Members Speak: Messages from CoR Members and Partners on the coronavirus crisis  

​Mikel Irujo Amezaga (ES/EA) writes that the Government of Navarra has created a special fund – with an initial sum of €100 million – to provide extraordinary support for health and education services, social care, and for the unemployed, self-employed, and small businesses. Companies can benefit from lines of credit (up to €30 million) and guarantees (up to €40 million). A particular aim has been to guarantee that vulnerable children can enjoy their basic right to food; to that end, the government is providing extra funds and ensuring a coordinated response by social and educational services. Many more details are available here (in Spanish).

The Łódź Region in central Poland has transferred PLN 165 million (€36 million) to fight the coronavirus, sourced from the EU, the national government and the region itself. It has earmarked PLN 146 million (€32 million) for 13 hospitals, of which PLN 93.5 million (€20.3 million) comes from EU funds. The region's civil servants are now teleworking, and – in line with national recommendations – residents have been asked to stay at home in all but exceptional circumstances. More details are available on the regional government's dedicated webpage (in Polish).

Since France introduced containment measures on 17 March, every community in the country has had to reorganise its services, activate business-continuity plans, and adopt extraordinary measures. An area of major importance, the Assembly of Departments of France writes, is maintaining agricultural activity, to meet the country's food needs. Départements are supporting local artisans and farmers, promoting local producers, and inviting large retail players to use local supply chains. They are also boosting financial support for associations that help farmers in need, and putting grocery stores in contact with local producers. Under business-continuity plans, government services have moved online and to the telephone, with priority given to first-time requests for support and to extending established rights. Social workers continue to visit homes, and public offices continue to provide family-planning services and consultations for pregnant women. Departmental fire and rescue services form part of the national health crisis-management system, with additional local initiatives to help the health sector and general public. More details on the role of French departments are here.

Malta's Local Councils Association together with the country's regional and local councils have set up a community support platform on Facebook. The platform, YouSafe, enables over 500 politicians and staff in the local councils to keep in contact with their community at all times during the crisis. It provides of means of ensuring that the elderly are not forgotten, neighbours are safe, and that communities stay in good health. YouSafe also facilitates a dialogue between councils and residents, and energises the business community, NGOs, civil-society networks and individuals to develop ideas, initiatives and solutions intended to help communities support each other. It is also enabling residents to take part in swift decision-making processes.