EPP Group Statement on the Coronavirus pandemic
In this difficult moment, we are united in solidarity with all countries and regions affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are united in solidarity with all patients who suffer from the virus, as well as all the relatives of the people who have died, and all those who fear for the lives of their loved ones. We are united in solidarity with the heroes of the medical profession and all members of the emergency and law enforcement services who work day and night to care for the infected and save the lives of others.
Fighting the virus and preventing the negative impact on our economies requires a European response. Pandemics require coordinated action. We therefore call on Member States to establish a true European Crisis Management Centre. Even though many of the concrete actions are in the competences of the Member States or the regions, only together will we be able to face this challenge.
We welcome the European solidarity already demonstrated by some Member States that are receiving patients from the most affected countries and urge all Member States to follow this good example.
In this context, we call on the Commission and Member States to swiftly refute all fake news relating to COVID-19 and to communicate clearly and transparently on a regular basis.
We welcome the steps taken at EU level for the joint procurement of urgently needed medical equipment and the activation of the EU rescue mechanism for this purpose. We welcome the fact that the European Commission has made it clear that goods and medical equipment must be able to cross borders unhindered.
Our citizens depend on the cross-border delivery of medicine and foodstuffs and our industry needs supply chains to function. There is enough food to feed all Europeans, but for that, we need to make sure our truckers can deliver across borders. We therefore welcome the idea of "green lines" giving priority, across borders, for essential products to get to where they are needed.
With this week’s vote in the European Parliament, the EPP Group will make sure that extra money is made available to affected regions, while airlines will get much-needed breathing space.
But these extraordinary times call for additional measures as well as long-term structural changes.
The EPP Group calls for all resources in the healthcare industry to be made available to combat the coronavirus. This should include a temporary moratorium on the implementation of the Medical Device Regulation and a relaunch of the industrial production of medical equipment in Europe.
We call for determined action to keep our basic infrastructure fully functional, be it internet services for people confined to their homes, or children and teachers, who have to give lessons via video links, or measures to limit the impact on our transport sector.
To address the economic impact of the crisis, we want to make sure that the European economy can survive the crisis and return as quickly as possible to its normal functioning. To achieve this, we are ready to develop tools to address the economic shock.
We are united in solidarity with everyone affected by this crisis, and we are ready to develop the measures needed.
The EPP Group calls on the use of all EU budgetary means to support the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. We commit to use the available margin and flexibility instruments of the EU budget, including the 4.1 billion euro available in 2020, to help the people of Europe to overcome this crisis. In this respect, we call on the Commission to come forward with proposals on how these funds could be used in the coming period to help people and EU Member States to overcome the crisis.
Once we get through this crisis, and we will get through it, we need to work together to prepare for the next challenge by learning the lessons of this pandemic so that we can be better prepared for all our citizens.
Europe must be more united than ever before. We are united in solidarity, because we know we can only overcome this crisis together.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States