COVID-19: Renew Europe "stands ready to do whatever it takes” to fast track decisions for a strong & decisive European response
Renew Europe has broadly welcomed the first set of emergency measures published by the European Commission today in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our MEPs are ready to adopt these as soon as possible at a special plenary session of the European Parliament and our coordinators from different Committees will closely review the proposed actions. Europe must take all possible actions to mitigate the health, economic and societal impacts of the virus, protect lives and jobs. Solidarity and coordinated action is imperative both in terms of the economic effort and in ensuring the availability of medicines and protective equipment in the EU. National-centric approaches should be avoided at all costs. We need a bold and decisive EU plan to come out stronger from this crisis.
The Commission's proposal to redirect unspent EU money is innovative and efficient. However, more could be done; there is money left in the pot – and we shouldn't have to choose between fighting a pandemic and strengthening our Union. The Commission should use the margins of the 2020 EU budget to inject 4bn of fresh money and consider mobilising other funds, such as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). This crisis shows it is time to wake up to the fact that we need a budget fit for the 21st century.
Beyond the immediate proposals announced today, we call on the European Commission to start working on temporary EU-wide instruments to avoid a cycle of job-destruction and create new ones in strategic sectors. The establishment of a temporary European Employment Protection Facility, similar to the Kurzarbeit program, should be considered. EU level responses across a range of fields need to be developed and will encourage economies of scale.
We believe EU finance ministers must act with unity and urgency in the coming days. The response should be fiscal primarily, given the exhaustion of monetary policy. As transport networks continue to seize up across Europe, we urge the Commission to establish a clear action plan and effective mechanisms of crisis-management cooperation between Member States in order to ensure connectivity within the EU.
Dacian CIOLOȘ, MEP, President of Renew Europe said today:
"First of all let me say that our hearts go out to all victims of the COVID-19 virus and their relatives as well as to all those struggling for their lives in intensive care throughout Europe. Viruses know no borders or nationalities, which is why we are stronger working together as Europeans to save lives, protect jobs and respond to the societal impact of this grave crisis. All affected Member States and Italy in particular can count on our unwavering support.“
‘We applaud the first set of measures the European Commission has proposed, and Renew Europe stands ready to do whatever it takes to fast track all necessary measures for a strong and decisive European approach. I will call for an extraordinary plenary meeting of the Parliament in the coming days. The state of emergency is, step by step, affecting all our Member States. We need a surge of European solidarity to guarantee all necessary health equipment is at the right place at the right moment and to secure jobs all across Europe.
”We also need to ensure we are less dependent on vital third party medical equipment, boost research and development on different families of viruses and ensure a European Health Emergency Plan is in place that can spread and share the means to tackle these crises.”
Frédérique Ries MEP, Vice President of the Renew Europe Group and member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety said:
"COVID-19 is already the worst health crisis the EU has faced in its history. The strong measures announced today by the Commission to limit job losses and to support our health care systems must be supported without any reservation. Renew Europe will work alongside the Commission to implement its new actions through a fast track procedure. Behind businesses, there are people and families who expect a clear and effective response from the European Union.”
Luis Garicano MEP, Coordinator for Renew Europe on the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee said today:
”The coronavirus is like an earthquake in slow motion and we are right in the middle of it. It carries the risk of destroying the Single Market along with many other things. If citizens don't see European solutions, Europe will be badly damaged.”