COVID-19: UNPRECEDENTED EU RESPONSE NEEDED TO AVERT WORST OF VIRUS CRISIS
The Greens/EFA group are calling on the European Commission and European Council for a coordinated EU response to the Corona virus crisis.
Ska Keller MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group, comments:
"We need a coordinated European response like no other to meet the challenge of this global pandemic head-on. We must focus on protecting the most vulnerable; from those at high risk, to the homeless and marginalised, to refugees who have no protection whatsoever from this pandemic in overcrowded camps with very little medical attention.
"We welcome efforts by the Commission and Council presidents to ensure Member States work more closely together. No Member State can be left alone to deal with this. The Single Market must be protected to keep supply chains open to ensure our health systems get the equipment they need, in particular medical supplies. The tireless efforts of doctors, nurses but also people working in supermarkets, public services and all frontline workers must be fully supported.
"We need to see healthcare and social welfare systems robustly resourced to be able to meet this unprecedented challenge. For those who have lost their jobs because of illness or the closure of businesses or are losing income because of precarious work conditions, Europe must assist in relief efforts.”
Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group, comments:
"There is no time to waste if we want to avoid repeating the mistakes made during the global financial crisis. EU finance ministers must mobilise all tools available at EU level to support countries that need immediate assistance and to ensure that our economies weather this storm together.
"The European Investment Bank needs to provide vital credit lines as soon as possible to struggling SMEs. Finance Ministers can start by approving to use the European Stability Mechanism to steady the ship. Emergency financing should not be linked to structural reforms or further austerity measures, but made conditional on fighting the virus medically and economically. Member States should inject further capital into the EIB to provide the funds needed to save people's livelihoods.
"More fundamentally, this unprecedented shock will require a departure from many widespread conventional wisdoms that have governed public economic policy in the last 30 years. What will be required is a massive economic stimulus, driven by public investment and geared towards facing the challenges of our century, starting with tackling climate change. This is the only sensible way to make our economies viable during and after this shock. As Europeans, we must show solidarity, support and strength in unity.”