Motion for a resolution - B9-0147/2020Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences

14.4.2020 - (2020/2616(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Philippe Lamberts
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0143/2020

Procedure : 2020/2616(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences


The European Parliament,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the COVID-19 crisis, having cost more than one hundred thousand lives worldwide, with more than half of those in the EU, and having required extraordinary limitations on economic and social activity, represents an exogenous and symmetrical shock to the health systems, societies and economies of the EU of unprecedented proportions that demands an EU response unprecedented in size, scope and solidarity;

B. whereas the confidence in the EU of the people within it will crucially depend on the willingness and ability of the EU and its Member States to work together to ensure that the health, social and economic costs of the crisis are mitigated as much as possible and are borne by those most able to do so;

C. whereas the response in the EU to the COVID-19 pandemic has so far been marked by a lack of coordination between Member States in terms of public health measures, including restrictions on the movement of people within and across borders and the suspension of other rights and laws;

D. whereas Member States suffering the greatest public health and economic impact have not received sufficient logistical material and financial support from those Member States in a position to provide it;

E. whereas no Member State should be hampered in its efforts to face the public-health-related, social and economic consequences of COVID-19 by the prospect of unsustainable additional debt or strict conditions for financial assistance, other than its use for crisis-related expenditure;

F. whereas the COVID-19 crisis within the EU’s borders does not mean the EU can ignore its responsibilities toward those in need on and beyond its borders;

G. whereas the COVID-19 crisis has revealed a fundamental lack of resilience in the EU and international economic system, especially in relation to long supply chains and just-in-time delivery systems for critical medical supplies and other essential goods, that must be remedied in order to mitigate the effects of such crises;

H. whereas the European Green Deal, far from being a luxury in the light of the crisis, should be the cornerstone of a massive investment and transformation programme to help the EU to recover economically from the crisis and build environmental, social and economic resilience in order to future-proof the EU;

A united and decisive response to a shared crisis

1. Expresses its heartfelt sympathy toward all those who have been infected with the virus and are fighting for their lives, as well as their families and friends; shares the grief of those who have lost loved ones to the virus;

2. Applauds the tens of thousands of people, medical and other essential service professions, civil society organisations and individual volunteers who are giving their time, often at great risk to their own wellbeing, to help those affected by COVID-19 across the EU;

3. Salutes the signs of solidarity that it has witnessed among countries and regions; at the same time, strongly regrets the lack of solidarity shown by certain Member States during this crisis, in particular the Member States most severely affected by the current situation;

4. Praises the creativity and speed in responding to the crisis shown by numerous private companies; deplores, however, the attempts by some to protect or promote narrow private interests to the detriment of the fight against COVID-19 and exploit the legitimate fears of the population;

5. Recognises that this crisis, like others before it, underlines the fundamental role of the state as guarantor of the general interest of our societies, in particular as insurer and investor of last resort for households and firms alike;

6. Stresses that, at this critical moment, all people living in the European Union expect and deserve reassurance that political leaders at all levels of policy-making, together with the EU institutions, will act decisively and in full solidarity with each other to do whatever is required to overcome the common threat posed by COVID-19 to our societies and economies;

7. Asserts that shortcomings in the way we collectively respond to this crisis, now and in the future, may irremediably damage the cohesion of our societies, the strength of our democracies, the very existence of the European project and our collective ability to tackle the environmental challenges we will still be facing for a long time to come;

8. Recalls that the well-being of its people is the very reason for the existence of the European Union and, therefore, strongly insists that all measures taken must prioritise the needs of those people, regions and countries hardest hit by the medical, social and economic aspects of the COVID-19 crisis in order to ensure that no one is left behind and inequalities are reduced, not increased, by the crisis response or lack of it;

9. Calls upon the EU institutions and the Member States to think outside the box of self-imposed institutional limits and be united, courageous and creative in finding and delivering the medical, social and economic means to overcome COVID-19; welcomes, in this regard, the actions already taken such as the suspension of the Stability and Growth Pact by the Commission and the ECB’s EUR 750 billion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme stimulus plan;

10. Insists that the single market, far from being a hindrance, can and must be used to save lives by facilitating the movement of essential goods, services and workers;

11. Strongly rejects any surrender of the hard-won democratic, social, economic and environmental achievements of the European Union and its Member States in the face of this crisis and insists instead that efforts be redoubled to build on those achievements;

12. Condemns any attempt by governments inside and outside the EU, through emergency measures or propaganda, to use the COVID-19 crisis as a pretext to restrict or distort fundamental rights and democracy in the pursuit of narrow domestic and global political interests through measures that are not justified by or proportionate to the effects of COVID-19; urges the Commission and the Council to vigorously oppose such behaviour;

13. Demands that, in recovering from the crisis, the EU institutions, in close cooperation with the Member States, take the necessary steps to rapidly identify and effectively remedy the weaknesses revealed in EU mechanisms for a united and effective crisis response; stresses that this includes improving not only EU-level preparedness, decision-making and resource and burden sharing, but also, and most importantly, the underlying structural resilience to major crises affecting the economies and public services in the EU;

14. Insists that the European Green Deal and the European Digital Strategy should be at the forefront of the post-crisis recovery strategy; stresses that an enhanced investment programme to create new physical and digital infrastructure and highly resource-efficient systems for the production, distribution and (re)use of energy, food, goods and services will hugely improve the resilience of the EU to health, economic and geo-political emergencies in the future;

Protecting all of those living in the EU, especially the most vulnerable, from the effects of the crisis

15. Stresses that it is crucial for the EU institutions to coordinate the critical information, decisions and actions of the Member States aimed at protecting those most vulnerable to the devastating social and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis and insists that this must be the priority at this time;

16. Welcomes the solidarity initiatives, such as pooling and sharing information and medical resources, in which several countries and regions have engaged in recent weeks; strongly regrets, however, the lack of prompt and collective acts of solidarity from the Member States, in particular towards Italy, whose call for medical supplies remained unanswered, and towards Spain, which has also been severely affected by the current situation;

17. Demands that the Member States and the EU institutions coordinate, together with neighbouring states, to guarantee the most strategic production and distribution of medical supplies, exchange of information and expertise, economic support and the continuation of the free circulation of goods in order to ensure basic needs are met;

18. Stresses that the EU must assist Member State governments in pooling best practices and providing targeted support to groups and individuals who are socially isolated, those with certain pre-existing medical conditions, the homeless, the elderly, detainees and those, such as the Romani, who are marginalised or suffering from discrimination and inequalities in access to health care; emphasises, in particular, that continued provision of personal assistance and care for persons with disabilities must be guaranteed;

19. Urges the EU and the Member States to implement targeted measures to protect the homeless and to provide financial assistance to NGOs and local authorities providing frontline assistance;

20. Insists that the Commission and the Member State governments must ensure that health-related information and general public-safety-related information is presented in a clear and simple manner, including in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;

21. Demands that the EU institutions and the Member States make available and effectively accessible every possible means of financial support to the hundreds of thousands of people across the EU whose livelihoods have been lost or substantially impaired because of this crisis;

22. Insists that the EU institutions and the Member States ensure that public financial support provided to firms in order to combat the economic effects of COVID-19 is conditional upon the funding being used to benefit employees and the recipient firms refraining from paying out dividends or offering share buy-back schemes for as long as they receive such support;

23. Urges the Commission to ensure that the Member States implement current telecom rules requiring an affordable and adequate broadband internet service to be made available to all those required to work from home, as well as children and students who need to study and others who have to isolate themselves; insists that access to the digital services needed for work, education, essential information, essential supplies and essential private and public services should be ensured for all, regardless of their social or economic situation;

24. Takes note of the increase in the number of cyberattacks against individuals, organisations and critical infrastructure reported by Europol, the new forms of fraud schemes targeting vulnerable people such as the elderly, and the increase in sales of counterfeit and sub-standard health care and sanitary products, personal protective equipment and pharmaceutical products resulting from the shortage in supplies; calls on the Commission and the Member States to urgently introduce preventive measures, including through preventive social media campaigns, focusing in particular on people in vulnerable situations;

25. Underlines the importance of ensuring that the general public is continuously and properly informed about scams, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic; highlights the need to raise awareness of scams;

26. Stresses that policies implemented to combat this health emergency, especially the requirement to stay at home, must include a gender and child protection perspective focused on areas where women and children are disproportionally impacted by the coronavirus outbreak; believes it important to ensure, in particular, that services for victims of violence remain open and available and that reports on gender-based violence are not considered less important or disregarded during this time; believes that special measures should include the reinforcing of helpline services, the organising of support networks and a public information campaign overseen by the Commission to inform victims and witnesses of domestic violence about their rights; recalls the specific situation of migrant children, notably in hotspots in Greece, who are highly vulnerable to the pandemic due to their living conditions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take children’s rights and their particular needs into account when adopting social, economic and post-COVID measures;

27. Calls on the Commission to work with the Member States to devise a gradual, pragmatic, science-based and coordinated EU-wide lifting of physical distancing measures and other temporary restrictions, including those at borders between Member States; regrets the unilateral actions taken by some Member States in this regard, which risk undermining the strategies of other Member States;

28. Calls for the EU to take action to protect vulnerable people, including refugees and asylum seekers, trapped in appalling conditions at the EU’s borders, in camps where physical distancing measures are impossible to respect, who should be immediately relocated to safe places in Member States where they can access health care, irrespective of their residence status;

International solidarity and responsibility and human rights

29. Welcomes the measures already taken by the EU to support the Western Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries, which should be followed up with long-term initiatives; calls in particular for the EU Solidarity Fund to be made available to the Western Balkan countries and for them to be exempted from the temporary export authorisation scheme for protective equipment; insists that, in general, this export authorisation scheme must remain temporary and should not be extended;

30. Calls for the EU to step up its humanitarian and development response, notably to finance health and medical supplies and emergency food aid, and allow African states to deploy local measures to support businesses and prevent their collapse; calls for the establishment of corona-mainstreaming in all humanitarian aid measures to ensure that the delivery of aid does not pose additional risks to the most vulnerable and that minimal hygienic infrastructure is in place; calls for the needs of women to be particularly taken into account in the global response to the pandemic since women bear the biggest burden of the crisis, yet are rarely represented when crisis responses are being negotiated;

31. Underlines the high vulnerability of populations living in conflict zones and the need for a concerted response to prevent and respond to the virus; is of the opinion that the EU should actively promote the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for an immediate global ceasefire and engage with warring parties to heed this appeal, to uphold international humanitarian law and to find durable political solutions to the conflicts; believes that this effort needs to include the set-up of humanitarian corridors and temporary ceasefires to ensure the delivery of aid and assist people in internally displaced persons and refugee camps; in this context, recalls the core humanitarian principles, including neutrality and impartiality;

32. Supports the call of the 24 UN Special Rapporteurs to ensure that COVID-19 protective measures compromising human rights are proportionate, necessary, non-discriminatory and limited in time and calls for the EU to create a public global COVID-19 human rights mechanism to monitor restrictions on human rights and violations of human rights related to the COVID-19 outbreak country by country;

33. Calls for a special session of the UNHRC on the human rights impact of COVID-19 and calls for the EU to participate in a global campaign to release low-risk offenders, particularly vulnerable individuals, political prisoners, and human rights defenders who are currently in prison, in order to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus in overcrowded prisons;

34. Deplores attempts by governments to take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to consolidate authoritarian rule; condemns, in particular, all instances of censorship, arrest and intimidation of journalists, opposition figures, health care workers and other individuals for criticising their government’s response; calls for the EU and the Member States to act on these issues both bilaterally and at the earliest opportunity in international fora and to press for the release of these individuals; calls on all states using digital surveillance technologies to fight the pandemic in a way that strictly respects international human rights standards; urges all governments to ensure access to health care without discrimination;

35. Calls for the EU and its Member States to abide by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) call to suspend all debt payments by the poorest countries to other governments as well as the call of African finance ministers to suspend all interest payments in 2020, and all principal and interest payments by fragile states; believes that all external debt payments (principal, interest and charges) due in 2020 should be cancelled permanently and that the provision of emergency financial aid should not create debt;

36. Underlines the need to rethink the issue of sovereign debts of developing countries; highlights the importance of setting up a mechanism at UN level to restructure public debt and ensure that countries have enough funds to strengthen their public health responses; stresses that IMF conditionality must be softened or even temporarily suspended in the current circumstances; recalls that the IMF and World Bank’s structural adjustment funds required budget cuts in public services, including the health sector, and thus led to the deterioration of the health and education systems of developing countries and increased their vulnerability to epidemics;

37. Stresses that the EU must fully cooperate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international bodies to develop an effective medical response and establish a mechanism to fight dangerous diseases and share progress on vaccines; insists on including Taiwan in the work of the WHO;

38. Reaffirms the EU’s special responsibility for the promotion of the right to universal health coverage in the EU-Africa Strategy, which should aim at achieving basic human rights as a priority, notably universal access to basic health, water and sanitation services;

International trade rules

39. Welcomes the Commission’s decision to waive all import tariffs on personal protection equipment, medical devices and other directly related medical items;

40. Urges the Commission to call on the Member States to issue compulsory or government licenses suspending the monopoly effect of patents and allowing others to produce and supply needed pharmaceutical products protected by patents, and to facilitate the import of medicines produced abroad under compulsory licenses; calls on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat to issue a note to WTO Members to relax the requirement in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) amendment of 2003 for compulsory licenses to be used ‘predominantly’ for local markets, in order to enable the import of medicines made under compulsory licensing in other countries, especially those with larger production capacities;

41. Calls on the Commission to waive the EU regulations on clinical test data protection and the granting of market exclusivity, both of which interfere with the effective use of compulsory licensing, in order to enable potential generic producers to make use of existing clinical data to support fast approval applications; believes that any TRIPS+ provisions in EU trade agreements on data exclusivity should be temporarily disregarded;

42. Calls on the Member States to support the Government of Costa Rica’s call on the WHO to create a voluntary pool of coronavirus-related intellectual property rights (including patents, regulatory test data, know-how, copyrights and design rights);

Protecting our democracies in the EU

43. Welcomes the statement by a number of Member States that emergency measures should be limited to what is strictly necessary, should be proportionate and temporary in nature, subject to regular scrutiny, and respect the principles of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights and international law obligations and should not restrict the freedom of expression or the freedom of the press; regrets that the statement avoids naming specific examples;

44. Condemns the Hungarian Act XII of 2020 on the containment of the coronavirus, which gives the government the power to govern by decree and merely inform, not even consult, the Hungarian Parliament and impose draconian punishments for the spread of what the government considers to be disinformation, as well as other legislation in preparation; deems the act to be contrary to the EU treaties and values and calls, therefore, on the Commission to explicitly recognise this move as an authoritarian attack on Hungarian democracy and make full use of the tools available to address it;

45. Expresses concern about the Polish draft law on special rules for holding the general elections of the President of the Republic of Poland in 2020; recalls that the draft completely changes the electoral rules one month before the elections; considers that the draft does not comply with the case law of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal and the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters; believes that in the current situation, holding presidential elections in Poland in May risks undermining the principle of equal and free elections;

46. Urges the Commission to intensify its monitoring of emergency measures put in place by Member States and their application to ensure the fundamental values of the EU are upheld and insists that the Commission and the Council must take firm action – including expedited infringement procedures, applications for interim measures before the Court of Justice, the exploration of budget-related measures, the invocation the Rule of Law Framework, further actions under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) – against attempts to misuse the coronavirus emergency to curtail democracy and silence critics of authoritarian governments; reiterates its call on the Council to ensure that hearings under Article 7(1) of the TEU relating to Hungary and Poland also address new developments; requests that the Venice Commission deliver an opinion on the Hungarian Act XII of 2020 on the containment of the coronavirus and on the Polish draft law on special rules for holding the general elections of the President of the Republic of Poland in 2020;

47. Insists that actions by governments and the Commission must at all times remain under strict public and parliamentary scrutiny, in order to guarantee they are respected as legitimate; stresses, therefore, that parliaments need to find ways to remain operational while effectively implementing COVID-19 public health recommendations; believes that Parliament must be a leading example of how digital work and voting in urgent cases can preserve European democracy under the emergency caused by COVID-19;

48. Welcomes and supports the statement issued by the European Data Protection Board with regard to the processing of personal data; underlines that, while anonymised and aggregated data, including from mobile phone networks, might be useful for assessing the effectiveness of distancing measures, any individualised tracking based on this data is unnecessary, unjustifiable and ineffective compared to the perfectly feasible options for controlling infections rates such as an obligation to wear masks in closed public spaces and massively enhancing antigen and antibody testing facilities through EU-wide coordination; further insists that it is paramount to guarantee democratic, parliamentary oversight and a clearly defined expiration period for emergency measures that utilise personal data and ensure that they are withdrawn as soon as their effectiveness in combatting the COVID-19 crisis diminishes;

49. Notes positively the presentation of the pan-European framework for infection contact tracing via smartphones, developed by a consortium of 130 researchers from 17 institutions and called ‘Pan-European Privacy Protecting Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT)’; welcomes this as an example of privacy by design, of the European way of using technology and for solving societal problems while preserving fundamental rights; points out, however, that the final assessment of the PEPP-PT framework will depend on the exact technical specifications, and that the central servers through which the randomised proximity tokens are exchanged, in order to notify users that they have been within the infection range of a person who later tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, should not and do not need to know any stable identifier of the users, be it pseudonymous or not; calls on the developers to enhance the framework to fully adhere to the principle of data protection by design as required by the General Data Protection Regulation;

50. Stresses that any software application that processes personal information in the context of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and that in one way or another processes data about infections or other data for the prevention of a disease would fall into the scope of the definition of a ‘medical device’ pursuant to the Council Directive on medical devices and would therefore have to meet the requirements laid down in that directive, including the declaration of conformity; calls on the Commission to clarify the status of such an app in the context of its legislative proposal to amend the Medical Devices Regulation of 2017, which will become applicable on 26 May 2020;

51. Urges the Commission to counter aggressive Russian and Chinese propaganda efforts exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of undermining the EU and sowing mistrust in the local population towards the EU; believes it is crucial to effectively communicate about the EU’s financial, technical and medical support;

Protecting and leveraging the benefits of the single market and the monetary union

52. Demands that the Member States that are the most severely affected, as Italy and Spain are currently, should be helped financially without having to shoulder the burden of future crisis-related debt alone and without being subject to austerity-related conditionality;

53. Notes the recent SURE (support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency) proposal as being a step in the right direction, but considers that it is overly limited in size and use of funds and, most importantly, provides limited support to recipients in fine, as it consists of loans that will in the longer term be a debt and deficit burden for recipient Member States; is furthermore concerned that the current proposal from the Commission lacks conditions regarding non-discriminatory access, the amount of support provided by national schemes to short-term work and geographic scope, and urges the Member States and the Commission to amend the proposed regulation in order to integrate these elements;

54. Urges the Member States and the EU institutions to work together urgently to set up ‘coronabond’ facilities to help raise the required funding for immediate health care needs and subsequent economic recovery and to ensure common burden sharing in response to a symmetric shock; underlines that the SURE proposal shows that there are modalities and a legal basis for setting up a dedicated EU fund that can issue such bonds to tackle the economic consequences of COVID-19;

55. Calls on the Commission to fast-track ‘coronabonds’ by proposing a dedicated fund (the ‘EU coronavirus fund’), whose legal basis ensures co-decision powers for Parliament and democratic accountability at EU and national level, and which is able to raise at least EUR 1 trillion on capital markets through the issuance of bonds whose proceeds will be used to provide financing to Member States in proportion to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, as measured by transparent and commonly agreed indicators; further calls for the repayment of such bonds to be guaranteed by contributions from the Member States, in proportion to their share of EU GDP; points out that such contributions should ideally take the form of new EU own resources; insists that the funds disbursed be used to cover the expenditure required to address the public health, social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in compliance with the Paris Agreement and the EU’s climate commitments;

56. Stresses that, as a short term measure, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) should immediately extend precautionary credit lines to countries seeking access to it in order to address short-term financing needs and tackle the immediate consequences of the COVID-19 crisis; emphasises that this funding must not be subject to austerity-related conditionality;

57. Urges the Member States to rapidly agree on a significant injection of capital into the European Investment Bank (EIB) to enable it to rapidly contribute its substantial firepower to mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19, including the creation of a new EIB credit line to guarantee permanent liquidity to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);

58. Recommends that SMEs be further helped by changing public procurement rules to allow local firms to be favoured in public tenders;

59. Firmly believes that solidarity, including financial support, must also be extended to our neighbours, including the countries in the Western Balkans that are working to join the EU in the future;

60. Welcomes the Commission’s Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, the European Structural and Investment package and the revision of the Common Provisions Regulation as important first steps, but insists that the EU institutions and the Member States must go much further and urgently find and deploy every euro cent of unallocated EU budget and mobilise all non-committed funds in the EU budget – whether under the common agriculture policy, the Cohesion Fund, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund or the European Social Fund – to meet the medical, social and economic needs of the fight against COVID-19; is of the opinion that the needs of countries that were already suffering economically before COVID-19 must be given special attention;

61. Urges the EU institutions to move swiftly to allow a significant increase in programmes and funds mobilised in the framework of the EU response to the COVID-19 crisis; notes that at the beginning of the year, the 2020 EU budget included margins and flexibility instruments of more than EUR 4 billion, which need to be urgently mobilised; stresses that no EU region should be left behind; welcomes, therefore, draft amending budgets one and two, which go in the right direction;

62. Urges the EU institutions to adopt as soon as possible and at the latest before the summer break, an upward revision of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) regulation in order to allow for a significant increase in programmes and funds mobilised in the framework of the EU response to the COVID-19 crisis;

63. Demands that the EU institutions agree on a multiannual financial framework with an overall size of EUR 1.324 billion in recognition of the need, compounded by the COVID-19 crisis, for the EU to have greater budgetary resilience; demands furthermore that a stimulus package be agreed in addition to the agreement on the above-mentioned figure (to be included in the EU budget) in order to help tackle the public health, economic and social crisis in the short-to-medium term, build resilience and face the environmental crisis in the medium-to-long term;

64. Acknowledges the need to mobilise additional funds in a fast and non-bureaucratic way to help the Member States to effectively fight COVID-19 and its consequences, but stresses that potential misuse of such funds will need to be investigated and penalised once the immediate crisis has ended; considers therefore that a revamped MFF must include adequate resources for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office so as to enable it to gain citizens’ trust, fight fraud, seize assets and therefore become budget-neutral in the medium term; asks that its budget be financed through Heading 7 (European Public Administration), in a similar way to the European Data Protection Supervisor, the European External Action Service or the European Ombudsman, so as to strengthen its independence;

65. Insists that the EU must ensure more visibility and predictability for next year’s budget before the summer, and if it fails to agree on the necessary increase in volume, that it swiftly adopt a contingency plan in order to avoid a general shut-down of the EU programmes at the end of 2020;

Single market

66. Demands that, while temporary border measures may in some specific cases be acceptable, provided that they are appropriate, proportionate and limited in time, the Commission must ensure that such measures do not infringe the right to free movement, in particular the non-discrimination principle;

67. Insists that the cross-border travel of front line workers in sectors key to the fight against COVID-19, in particular health care and elderly care professionals, but also those working in the food sector such as seasonal farm workers, must not be limited and their health care must be ensured; insists, furthermore, that border measures do not affect the right to asylum nor the right to family reunification or family life, or result in people not being allowed to travel to reach their home country;

68. Stresses that borders must be kept open for trade, and in particular the supply of food; points out that the need for cross-border seasonal farm workers may become even more pressing if, as many envisage, there is a second COVID-19 wave coinciding with the harvest period;

69. Call for the EU and the Member States to ensure that border checks are fast-tracked so that fresh products do not spoil;

70. Believes that until the situation of long queues and refusal of entry at certain borders between Member States and between the latter and third countries is under control, all exports of live animals to non-EU countries and all transport of live animals between Member States lasting more than eight hours should be suspended;

Protecting the social, economic and environmental future of the EU

71. Is convinced that the COVID-19 crisis reinforces the absolute need for transformative initiatives such as a deeper and bolder European Green Deal that includes a far-reaching upgrade of the EU’s social and economic institutions; insists that the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss is not only an absolute necessity in order to preserve the ability of our societies to thrive on our planet but would also provide exactly the widespread job creation and economic development that is needed for the EU economy to recover from the COVID-19 shock;

72. Urges the Commission to immediately begin work on the establishment of an EU-wide Green Recovery Investment Package that goes far beyond the current Sustainable Europe Investment Plan in terms of ambition, scope and size and is funded through new instruments and own resources as well as enhanced capacities of the EU budget, the ESM and the EIB, supported by the European Central Bank’s asset purchasing capacity;

73. Insists that the Green Recovery Investment Package should be a truly transformative project aiming not just at meeting the EU’s environmental commitments necessary to preserve humanity’s life support system, but also to transform our entire socio-economic system to address the dangerous lack of resilience in public services and the agricultural, economic and financial system that undermines the sustainable welfare of the people living in the EU;

74. Stresses that the COVID-19 crisis has made it clear yet again that the EU, and the Eurozone in particular, lacks the tools of economic governance that allow funds to be shifted to where they are needed in order to stabilise economic conditions; insists that it is therefore key that ongoing reforms of Economic and Monetary Union governance take the need for stabilisation into account (including reforms of the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness and plans for a reinsurance system for national social security schemes);

75. Recognises the need to protect and redevelop public services so that they guarantee the basic needs of the people and the ecological transition and ensure the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights; believes that it is essential to ensure resilience to future crises to guarantee throughout the EU that public services related to health, education, access to clean air and water, energy and public transport as well as social protections are protected and guaranteed; believes that the time has come for the introduction of a European health guarantee and enhanced public health competences at EU level; stresses that the debate on what should be considered as a basic need to be provided through public services or protected as a part of the commons should be included in the topics discussed within the Convention on the Future of Europe;

76. Urges the EU and its Member States to call on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services to launch a thorough review of the science regarding the link between pandemics like COVID-19, swine flu, MERS and SARS caused by pathogens transferring from animals to humans and the degradation of biodiversity, deforestation and other changes in land use in order to inform policymakers about biodiversity strategies that minimise the risk of such zoonoses;

77. Resolves to establish a parliamentary special committee with the necessary mandate and powers to draw lessons from the crisis and the response across the EU so as to better equip the Member States to collectively face future challenges of the same magnitude, whatever their origin, and enable Parliament to make recommendations to the Commission and the Council;

78. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


Last updated: 15 April 2020
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