The EU’s European Research Council (ERC) supports scientists globally to push the boundaries of frontier research in different fields and help advance scientific knowledge. Here’s a small glimpse of the work the ERC has been supporting over the years.

Blackhole images generated in 2019 (left) and 2021 (right). EU-supported science has helped break barriers over the years. © Event Horizon Telescope

There are things we know that we do not know and then there are unknown unknowns. We are aware that we cannot yet cure all types of cancer or generate energy sustainably. But we are oblivious to many current and future challenges, as well as to untapped solutions lurking in unexpected places. …


20 years ago, the world’s first legally recognised same-sex marriage took place in the Netherlands.

Everybody in the European Union should be safe and free to be themselves. © European Union, 2020, 2018 📸 Jennifer Jacquemart, Lukasz Kobus

Last year the European Commission adopted its first LGBTIQ Equality Strategy. Today, the European Union is an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone.

1. Show your support with the rainbow flag


The novel coronavirus pandemic has shown that no country is immune to disasters. The European Union plays a key role in coordinating the response to disasters in Europe and beyond. According to the Special Eurobarometer on EU Civil Protection , over 90% of Europeans think that it is important that the EU helps coordinate the response to disasters, wherever they occur. See what EU citizens think about the EU’s role in civil protection.

EU civil protection teams supported the emergency response in Beirut, Lebanon, following the deadly explosions at the seaport. ©European Union, 2020 (photographer: Bernard Khalil)

1. EU citizens are aware that the EU helps coordinate the disaster response

A majority of Europeans (51%) are aware that the EU helps coordinate the response to disasters, of whom 92% say they are aware that their countries participate…


Many buildings of the old Beirut were damaged by the port explosion of August 2020. ©Pascal Maitre/MYOP. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

When a massive explosion tore through Beirut’s port in August 2020 it was the last straw for many people in Lebanon. The explosion killed hundreds, while it damaged thousands of homes in one of the country’s poorest communities. It left large areas of the city without water, sewage, or electricity, and disrupted Lebanon’s food supplies. It was a devastating blow in a year of turmoil.


Children plays on a newly built street in the refugee camp of Kutupalong, in Bangladesh. ©Olivier Laban-Mattei/MYOP. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

The Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar is the largest in the world. Cox’s Bazaar is a port city, located along Bangladesh’s south-eastern coastline. Many of the Rohingya refugees arrive there by boat with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. Thanks to EU funding and the work of EU partners in the region, when the refugees arrive, they have access to health care, mental health support, food, and clothing. They have a safe place to stay, and life can continue.


Sweswe welcome centre, at the entrance of Kyaka II settlement, Uganda. ©Stéphane Lagoutte/MYOP. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Uganda is no stranger to epidemics. Before the coronavirus, there was Ebola. These epidemics burdened the region, particularly Uganda’s large refugee communities. These outbreaks taught Ugandan authorities and EU-supported humanitarian organisations an important lesson: act swiftly to prevent broader social and economic devastation.


COVID-19 prevention messages are painted at the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. ©Guillaume Binet/MYOP. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

When the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Haiti, it brought the country to a halt. Stores closed, tourists disappeared, and jobs vanished. Fearing for his survival and that of his son, Wisner decided to try to leave the country. He saw the danger that awaited: when the pandemic hit, not only did options for work dry up, but key elements of the country’s health system collapsed.

With the situation rapidly deteriorating, the EU and its partners like the International Organization for Migration (IOM) immediately began to act. The EU provided key funding to support the country’s emergency medical teams and to…


A young girl walks through the empty streets of Santo Domingo, Ecuador. ©Agnès Dherbeys/MYOP. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis, but it has been particularly devastating among refugees. In Ecuador, there are an estimated 415,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees, along with 68,500 refugees from Colombia. When the coronavirus reached Ecuador, emergency shelters were forced to cut back on staff and services. Border closings stranded people, including children with no parents to look after them. The EU is working with its partners in the country to ensure the thousands of refugees in the country remain safe in these perilous times.


Women waiting to receive medical care at the Kyaka II settlement, Uganda. © Stéphane Lagoutte/MYOP. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

The spread of COVID-19 has presented a global challenge like no other. For the most vulnerable people in many regions of the world, this challenge is one of daily survival.

Globally the pandemic has further increased already existing humanitarian needs. In face of these challenges, the EU, especially through its humanitarian aid support, is acting on different fronts.

In 2020, the European Union launched an ambitious, global effort to limit the impact of COVID-19 among the world’s most vulnerable people. So far, the EU together with its Member States and financial institutions (Team Europe) has mobilised over €38.5 …


When disasters strike, the EU is there to help. The latest Special Eurobarometer on Humanitarian Aid shows EU citizens are aware of the importance of EU humanitarian assistance: 91% are in favour, 82% have positive feelings towards EU’s leading role, and most Europeans agree with the current budget or want to invest even more. These are the main takeaways from the survey.

© UNHCR/Aristophane Ngargoune, 2020.

1. Funding EU humanitarian aid activities is important to EU citizens

An overwhelming majority (91%) of Europeans believe that it is important that the EU funds humanitarian aid activities globally. This is an increase of 3 percentage points since 2016 and the largest ever observed (+21pp compared to 2010).

European Commission

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