The European Commission has announced a coordinated response to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus.
It is creating a €37bn package to support the healthcare sector, labour market and businesses across all affected sectors.
This will be done under the bloc's cohesion policy.
The commission says it wants to ensure the necessary supplies to health systems, support people so that income and jobs are not affected disproportionally, support firms and allow member states to act decisively in a coordinated way.
The commission is proposing to relinquish its obligation to ask member states to refund unspent pre-financing for the structural funds this year.
This amounts to about €8bn from the EU budget, which states will be able to use to supplement €29bn of structural funding across the EU.
This will effectively increase the amount of investment in 2020 and help to front-load the use of the as yet unallocated €40bn of cohesion policy funding within the 2014-2020 programmes.
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) March 13, 2020
The commission is also calling on the European Parliament and Council to "swiftly approve this proposal", so that it can be adopted within the next two weeks.
The commission also wants to extend the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund by including a public health crisis, with a view to mobilising it if needed for the hardest hit member states.
Up to €800m is available for this in 2020 - while the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund has up to €175m at its disposal to support dismissed workers and the self-employed.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: "The coronavirus pandemic is testing us all. This is not only an unprecedented challenge for our healthcare systems, but also a major shock for our economies.
"The important economic package announced today deals with the situation of today.
"We stand ready to do more as the situation evolves. We will do whatever is necessary to support the Europeans and the European economy.”
And the commission is proposing targeted legislation to temporarily alleviate airlines from the 'use-it-or-lose-it' rule - whereby air carriers must use at least 80% of their airports slots within a given period in order to keep them within the next year.