We are living through something unprecedented. The COVID-19 virus knows no boundaries, it infects people globally and so our response must be European, global. The EU and member states will have a lesson to learn from this painful and terrible emergency: we need a joint, common, coordinated, European answer to fight back coronavirus.
S&D coordinator in the environment committee, Jytte Guteland, said:
“This is about saving lives. Now is the time for solidarity and working together to overcome this crisis. It is clear that we need common solutions at an EU level to contain the virus and avoid it overwhelming our healthcare systems.
“The current situation makes it painstakingly clear how vital it is to have well-funded, affordable and accessible high-quality healthcare systems across the EU. Unfortunately, after years of budget cuts, many healthcare systems are unable to cope with the sudden surge caused by COVID-19, despite the tireless fight carried out by doctors and nurses to save as many lives as possible.
“We have to strengthen the current EU tools such as increasing staffing in the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (the ECDC) and by setting up adequate EU reserves of essential medical equipment, material and supplies so that our society stands better prepared in the future.”
S&D vice-president responsible for health, Heléne Fritzon, added:
“The Covid-19 outbreak has clearly shown our European system’s shortcomings. As this crisis continues, Europe will face many tough decisions and life will change in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago.
“To overcome the crisis we need strong support measures taken at all levels in order to mitigate the negative impact of the crisis, in particular on employment and social cohesion. It is especially important to counter any negative impacts on gender equality.
“We must fight this battle with a common European spirit and once we have fought back the COVID-19 virus, we must not forget what the virus is making painfully clear: our public health resources and healthcare systems are precious. By working together, we can win.”