Following the meeting of the Eurogroup ministers yesterday and ahead of today’s extraordinary European Council meeting, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Iratxe García said:
“The EU can and should give a stronger common response to the health and socio-economic aspects of the COVID-19 crisis, but leaders seem shy to take bold action, postponing important decisions. I hope that the national leaders today will show more courage. Some countries have taken longer to understand the magnitude of this crisis, but I think it is now the time to act strongly.
“It is reassuring to hear from economy ministers that they will do whatever it takes to fight this crisis, including the immediate use of the European Stability Mechanism. The time to act is now: We call for an Economic Recovery Plan, with a consolidated and coherent strategy for the rapid mobilisation of all different EU instruments to support people, SMEs and businesses. This has to include the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Stability Mechanism and banking union tools.
“Regarding Schengen, we understand that border controls are necessary in these extraordinary circumstances to protect public health. However, these measures need to remain temporary and evaluated regularly. Schengen must be protected and the measures put in place must be coordinated and not become the new normal.
“Only together can we best protect our citizens. No member state can go at it alone, as the functioning of the single market is crucial to ensure deliveries and production of food, medicine and other supplies. We also need to make sure that people are able to get home, also if they are sick, or to travel to take care of family members who have fallen ill. And allow for Europeans stranded in third countries to come back home.”