Renew Europe, who this week established an internal task force on COVID-19, have today written to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and President Charles Michel, outlining a number of complementary measures which could be taken by the European Union to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and all of its consequences.
Members of the renew task force, comprised of the presidency of the group, its coordinators and MEPs, met via videoconference yesterday. Welcoming the action taken so far by the European Commission, the ECB, the ECDC, the group analysed what complementary measures may help to save lives and mitigate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Beyond these first additional proposals, Renew Europe continues working on medium and long term measures.
Commenting on the latest developments and the next steps that are needed, Dacian Ciolos, President of Renew Europe said today:
‘While we support the actions so far outlined by the European Commission and the ECB, we believe there is more we can do at EU level, in the short term on both the health and economic aspects of this crisis.
We need to use the existing frameworks to transfer patients between territories, to ensure that every European citizen has the emergency treatment he or she needs, in the event of a surge in one region. We must act together to ensure our healthcare workers get the equipment they need and ensure that citizens have clear and correct information about the pandemic.’
‘The time has come for the EU to demonstrate its firepower. While the recent economic measures announced by the ECB are welcome, they must be built on by finance ministers as an additional immediate response to the crisis. We urge the Council to approve the Sovereign Bond Backed Security (SBBS) proposal and to set up a new COVID-19 dedicated-instrument within the European Stability Mechanism to mobilise significant financial recourses with targeted conditionality. This 500bn euro instrument has the necessary firepower to tackle the economic impact of the pandemic.'
Please find here the letter to President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and President Charles Michel.
Notes to Editors:
ANNEX OF KEY ADDITIONAL ACTION NEEDED TO FIGHT AGAINST COVID19
o Saving lives through solidarity and enhanced health coordination:
- The transport of COVID1 9 patients in need of emergency treatment between Member States and avoid any medical and treatment shortages.
- Providing citizens and health professionals with one digital information point where they can find all relevant information related to the Coronavirus outbreak in all available languages.
- Clearer information for citizens and a special taskforce against disinformation as part of our health effort.
- Measures to actively work on developing interoperability of EU health care systems, building a EU health task force.
o A bazooka to safeguard the European Economy:
- Finance ministers of the Euro area should approve the SBBS proposal and to set up a new COVID-19 dedicated-instrument within the European Stability Mechanism to mobilise significant financial recourses with targeted conditionality. This 500bn euro instrument has the necessary firepower to tackle the economic impact of the pandemic
*Significant additional funding to support the implementation by Member States of employment protection programs such as short time work schemes, to avoid dismissing workers and minimise job losses if Members States would run out of means to provide this themselves.
*Use the EUR 4 billion of “fresh money put aside in the EU budget 2020 for crises and unforeseen events to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
o A volunteer army for community based action:
- The European Solidarity Corps should be deployed to assist in front-line efforts to contain and combat the pandemic. This could range from assisting efforts in contact tracing to supporting NGOs and charities, which are supporting vulnerable groups during self-isolation measures e.g. delivering supplies to older persons, manning national information hotlines etc
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