Following the approval today of the report on the Union Civil Protection Mechanism – with support from across the political groups in the European Parliament – the S&Ds want to highlight their satisfaction at the outcome of the vote. This proposal was based on a crucial principle: the need for greater solidarity within the EU, where all citizens in Europe can feel safe, no matter which member state they are from. Thanks to the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, more than 82,000 Europeans were repatriated. This new mechanism will also ensure a ready-to-use common European reserve of emergency medical equipment, such as ventilators, protective masks and laboratory supplies.
Nikos Androulakis MEP, the Parliament’s rapporteur and an S&D member of the environment committee, commented:
“We are fighting to increase the level of solidarity in Europe. All European citizens must feel equally safe faced with a pandemic or other kind of emergency – no matter which member state they live in. When the challenges are beyond the capacity of any individual state to respond, European citizens expect the EU to stand by them.
“The Parliament has acted quickly. After only three months, we are now ready to begin the inter-institutional negotiations with the Council. We want to see the new legislation in place as soon as possible to ensure that the EU can have the necessary capacities to respond to a potential second wave or any other kind of emergency.
“We welcome the planned increase in the budget to nearly €3 billion. Thanks to our work and the commitment of the S&Ds, the Parliament also supported the increase in the co-financing rate of RescEU capacities of 100%, widening the scope of preventive actions possible at EU and member state, level and giving the European Commission the possibility of acquiring, renting or leasing the necessaryresources to protect and assist European citizens. The pandemic is still here and we have to be ready for a possible second wave.”
S&D environment committee co-ordinator Jytte Guteland MEP added:
“We are delighted that this crucial report for the safety of all citizens and our environment was adopted today by the overwhelming majority of the EU Parliament. Already this mechanism has been used for creating stockpiles of medical supplies to fight the pandemic. We want this to continue and the EU’s efforts on civil protection to be stepped up. Now it is up to the Council and member states to seize the opportunity and strengthen the system in their mandate and the upcoming negotiations.
“This is what the EU is about. This is what the European citizens expect from the EU: showing solidarity beyond the limits and the boundaries of any single member state when any kind of natural or man-made disaster, or medical emergency such as the pandemic, strikes and a member state needs help.
“In line with the S&Ds’ calls for a Health Union, once there is more clarity on our responses to the pandemic, we have mandated the Commission to see how the mechanism has worked in terms of responding to medical emergencies and the synergies achieved with the EU4Health Programme, in view of potentially creating a specific European Health Response Mechanism.
“We have to do everything that is needed to prevent a new wave of the pandemic. We must be ready and better prepared in the future should the storm hit us again.”