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Wednesday, 12 February 2020 - Strasbourg Revised edition

26. Coronavirus: ensuring fundamental rights and a coordinated European response (debate)
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  Elnök asszony. – A következő pont a Bizottság nyilatkozata a Koronavírus: az alapvető jogok és egy összehangolt európai válasz biztosításáról szóló vita (2020/2565(RSP)).


  Helena Dalli, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, it is more apparent than ever that our greatest challenges, from the rise of antimicrobial resistance and the spread of communicable disease to the climate crisis, are collective ones. The coronavirus outbreak is clear evidence of this, and it highlights the urgent need for close collaboration and coordination across the EU and beyond.

The European Parliament is a crucial partner in these efforts, and I am glad to have an opportunity to discuss the EU’s response with you this evening. The Commission has mobilised its services and agencies, notably the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDE), and is working on all fronts to support efforts to tackle the outbreak. This includes ongoing coordination with Member States to share information, funding vaccine research and offering support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

I will share some more specific examples of our efforts and some ideas for an improved response, but first I think it is important to salute the commitment of all frontline medical personnel, who are operating in very difficult circumstances. Last week we expressed special condolences for the death of Dr Li Wenliang, who was among the first to warn us about the coronavirus.

A few words on the importance of cross—sectoral coordination at EU and Member State level would be in order here. On 28 January, President von der Leyen triggered the Commission’s crisis coordination mechanism. My colleague Commissioner Lenarčič, in his role as the European Emergency Response Coordinator, has convened meetings of the Crisis Coordination Committee with the participation of all relevant services, from health, civil protection, through research to transport, but also development cooperation and communication, to name just a few. He repeatedly emphasised that this challenge requires a joined-up collective effort and using all the tools that we have at our disposal.

Relevant Commission services and the European External Action Service are constantly assessing the situation and deciding on the actions needed for a swift and coordinated response. Consular coordination and cooperation between EU Member States is ongoing in order to address repatriation and other consular needs. Thanks to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and on the initiative of some Member States, such as France and Germany, hundreds of EU citizens have been repatriated from Hubei province.

Commissioner Kyriakides has been in regular contact with the Ministers of the Member States where cases have been confirmed. Under the cross—border health threat decision, the Commission coordinates with Member States through three key mechanisms: the Early Warning and Response System, the Health Security Committee, and the Communicators’ Network. Effective cooperation is key to their success, and I assure you that these mechanisms are active, sharing information and building preparedness and mitigation strategies. At the same time, the Commission has provided EUR 10 million for research on the virus, and the EU-funded PREPARE project has been activated. This will launch clinical trials across a network of 3 000 hospitals and 900 laboratories in 42 countries.

Currently, Member States are implementing a variety of measures at points of entry to the EU. However, we should work with Member States to develop a common position on external borders in line with international recommendations, whilst protecting freedom of movement and the health security of all EU citizens.

We also need to coordinate with key partners like the World Health Organization (WHO). The Commission is planning to mobilise funding to support the WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan in order to tackle the outbreak, to contain its spread and to foster research and investigation. Capacity reinforcement is especially important in countries with already fragile health systems. Access to personal protective equipment is a critical part of the wider response. The Commission is looking at the needs of Member States in this regard. In parallel, the Commission is reviewing country capacity for quarantine and isolation. Understandably, there are varying levels of capacity across Member States, including around personal protective equipment. Should EU transmission of the virus greatly expand, this may require cross—border solidarity and cooperation.

It is important to contain the outbreak to reduce the risk of it spreading further. In addition to ensuring preparedness in the EU, we need to focus on assisting China. This helps the Chinese, but it also decreases the risk for the rest of the world. The Commission is working closely with China, both at technical and political levels. The EU has already provided 12 tonnes of protective equipment to China. This is a clear sign of our solidarity. We have been in contact with Member States and private companies to identify stocks of protective personal equipment that go beyond EU needs and could be shared with China. Yes, we need to make sure that stocks at national level are sufficient, but we also need to focus on where our support could have the greatest impact by tackling the outbreak at source. We are also looking into setting up a joint working group between EU and Chinese experts on public health aspects of the virus, which regards the potential for indirect consequences of the outbreak. One issue of particular concern is the potential for xenophobia, both online and offline. Discrimination against Asians or persons perceived as Asians or any other race or ethnicity is contrary to EU law. The Commission will not tolerate any racial discrimination in whatever form it takes.

The Commission is in contact with the European Medicines Agency and networks of Member State authorities to assess the situation of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and of finished medicinal products available for the European pharma industry and the European market. So far, the outbreak is not affecting the availability of medicines in Europe, but obviously we will remain vigilant. However, the outbreak highlights the need to examine the domestic production of APIs and finished medicinal products. This is something that we are currently reflecting on, and it will form part of the pharmaceutical strategy to be launched later this year.

The Commission has mobilised all the assets at its disposal in order to meet this challenge inside and outside the European Union. Our success depends on rapid communication, information sharing, political will and close coordination. All of these efforts are underpinned by European solidarity with all EU citizens and with others who are vulnerable to this virus. I look forward to hearing your views.


  Esther de Lange, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, on the eve of the meeting of the ministers of health tomorrow, I think it’s only fitting and thank the Commissioner that we are discussing this subject tonight. And let’s be clear, there’s no need for panic in Europe, but people are quite rightly looking towards their national authorities but also towards the EU for answers. I want to, first of all, compliment the European Commission for their coordination efforts. I’ve seen previous outbreaks that were less coordinated but here, for example, the initiative taken for the coordinated approach about the repatriation of people deserves our compliments.

But I also want to express a warning. Ministers of health tomorrow will be very inclined to underline that health is a national competence, and they will be right, but people at the moment don’t want to talk about the Lisbon Treaty, they want to see solutions. And, therefore, for the EPP, we expect a number of things: first of all a capacity check as to the preparedness of all Member States and I honestly get a bit worried when I hear the Commission say we might have to organise solidarity for the protective equipment in Member States where they have less access. No, we need to do that, actually, now. We need this capacity check. We need a common approach on people entering from the region into the EU, a clear communication strategy that avoids conflicting advice, which we’ve seen between Member States in the past, cooperate the vaccine – you’ve said enough about that – but also, that’s my last point, up—to—date data. How come, officially, we have data saying Africa has zero cases? That either means they have zero cases, which I find highly unlikely given their contact with China, or they just don’t check and that would be a worrying thing for a neighbouring continent like the EU. Therefore, we are, as the EU, as strong as our weakest link, and what the ministers need to do tomorrow is to make sure that there are no weak links at all.


  Jytte Guteland, för S&D-gruppen. – Fru talman! Tack, fru kommissionär, för ditt viktiga inledande på denna debatt.

Med 40 000 bekräftade fall globalt och mer än 1 100 tragiska dödsfall måste vi ta coronaviruset på fullt allvar. Vi ska vara väl medvetna om att antalet fall i Europa inte har varit så stort, men beredskapen är viktig för att hantera och skydda befolkningen.

Världshälsoorganisationens arbete för att förstå utbrottet och virusets verkan är oerhört viktigt, då vi ännu inte riktigt vet hur spridningen går till. Därför är jag glad över att du nämner EU:s insatser när det gäller forskning kring viruset. Det tror jag är väldigt avgörande. Likaså är det arbete som olika expertgrupper gör för att identifiera källan av utbrottet mycket viktigt, för att säkerställa att vi kan förhindra liknande utbrott fram över. Vi vet nämligen inte ännu om vi gör tillräckligt, och det är tyvärr omöjligt att veta det tills vi har bättre kunskap om viruset, dess uppkomst och hur det fungerar.

Jag uppmanar hälsoministrarna i EU:s olika medlemsländer att vara vaksamma och redo att hantera eventuella nya fall samt att sprida all information och hjälpa varandra i detta. Åtgärder för smittskydd är av högsta vikt och måste prioriteras, samtidigt som isolering av personer och karantän m.m. måste ske på ett proportionerligt sätt och inte kränka grundläggande rättigheter. Vi måste också se till att coronaviruset inte bidrar till att misstänkliggöra människor eller leder till att falsk information sprids.

Med allt detta sagt så är det bra att kommissionen är på hugget, att du, fru kommissionär, är här i dag, att du visar att er beredskap är stor och att vi tillsammans ser till att sprida all den kunskap vi har, satsar på forskningsinsatser och ser till att vi har korrekt information för att kunna skydda medborgarna.


  Katalin Cseh, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, there is hardly a day that goes by without new breaking news about the coronavirus, and as we are more connected than ever the world is holding its breath anticipating the outbreak of a truly global pandemic. That’s the wrong approach, I think. This global attention has a very clear downside: deliberate misinformation; fake news; misleading reporting about the coronavirus are all around us. In Hungary, two people were detained who were spreading fake news in social media about a disease reaching hundreds of thousands of people according to investigators. That’s nonsense. And other internationally wide-spread posts claimed that more than 60% of humanity will get infected in the near future.

Let’s face it. Europe has not done much to address this issue of the spreading of fake news and hysteria. There is certainly of course a global crisis unfolding, nobody denies that, but in the face of the crisis, Europe must remain calm and composed. This is why we should not ignore the rising misinformation campaigns that spread fearmongering and mistrust. A coordinated European response must include fact-checking and providing regular and credible information to our citizens. We must never forget that their trust is our most precious asset, and misinformation is sometimes even more contagious than the coronavirus.


  Reinhard Bütikofer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, in this crisis we express our solidarity with the Chinese people and, in particular, with the people of Wuhan. We mourn all the victims and we send our condolences to the families of the deceased.

We declare our high esteem for the service of the Chinese frontline medical workers under the very difficult circumstances and high risks, and I want to hail, in particular, the courage and the sacrifice of Dr Li Wenliang and others.

We welcome the fact that the EU and the Member States have shown first responses in offering support to China. We must continue to provide assistance and cooperation wherever possible. This health crisis is not over. That is why we have to make sure that there is a strong and coordinated effort within the EU and, in particular, between the Member States, and in that regard, I fully support what has been said previously by colleagues.

International cooperation more generally is of paramount importance. This is why I want to explicitly emphasise that Taiwan must be fully included in the WHO—led international efforts.

Lastly, there is a deep concern – and I am grateful to the Commissioner that she mentioned it – about the increasing number of reports of anti—Chinese or anti—Asian xenophobia in some countries, including in the EU, in the context of this crisis. This is completely unacceptable. We want to show solidarity, not allow xenophobia and racism. And in that context, we also have to battle against fake news and fearmongering.


  Joanna Kopcińska, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Szanowna Pani Przewodnicząca! Pani Komisarz! Biorąc pod uwagę rosnącą pilność i potrzebę kompleksowej strategii w odpowiedzi na ewentualny wzrost zachorowań w Europie, mam kilka pytań, które chciałabym skierować do Komisji. Czy Komisja może przedstawić jakieś uwagi na temat jutrzejszego nadzwyczajnego spotkania ministrów zdrowia Unii Europejskiej? Czy Komisja może wyjaśnić, w jaki sposób ECDC, DG Santo oraz chińskie centrum kontroli i zapobiegania chorób koordynują ich reakcje na nowy koronawirus? I czy Komisja może podać datę wydania piątej oceny ryzyka Europejskiego Centrum do spraw Zapobiegania i Kontroli Chorób? Co więcej, czy Komisja może wyjaśnić, w jaki sposób Unia Europejska koordynuje działania z innymi państwami trzecimi? W szczególności, czy rozważa środki awaryjne w przypadku rozprzestrzenienia się wirusa w Afryce, co mogłoby spowodować dodatkowe obciążenia w systemach opieki zdrowotnej państw na tamtym obszarze? Dyrektor generalny Światowej Organizacji Zdrowia stwierdził, że szczepionka może nie być dostępna przez ponad 18 miesięcy. Czy taki harmonogram jest zgodny z obecną oceną Komisji?


  Miguel Urbán Crespo, en nombre del Grupo GUE/NGL. – Señora presidenta, el coronavirus es hoy menos mortífero que una gripe normal, pero la alarma social generada es infinitamente mayor. Los estereotipos y el mal manejo de la información están alimentando la discriminación contra personas asiáticas, en una muestra más de xenofobia e intolerancia.

El virus no se combate con racismo, sino garantizando el acceso a sistemas de salud públicos, universales y gratuitos, con unas condiciones de vida dignas. El acceso universal a la salud es un derecho fundamental, y aprovechamos también este debate para reclamar que se reviertan las medidas de austeridad y los recortes de los servicios públicos que han atacado la universalidad y la calidad de la atención sanitaria en muchas partes del mundo, pero también aquí, en Europa.

Es fundamental recordar que en la gestión de este tipo de crisis también se deben respetar estrictamente los derechos humanos. Y, finalmente, exigimos que se adopte un enfoque de tolerancia cero respecto a los ataques racistas contra las personas de origen asiático, porque no hay peor virus que la xenofobia.


  Ivan Štefanec (PPE). – Madam President, as we know today, there are already more than 1 000 victims of coronavirus and more than 40 000 infected people. Still today, Taiwan is the only country with confirmed cases that has been excluded from the World Health Organisation (WHO) meetings. This not only creates a serious gap in the global health security system, but it also undermines Taiwanese people’s fundamental human right to health.

Taiwan is the most important international hub in the western Pacific, and the disease does not know borders. Taiwan is the fourth country successfully isolating the sample of coronavirus. I’m sure that now is the time to work together and to use all the expertise that we can. I therefore ask you, dear colleagues, to support our common call on all the individuals blocking Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organisation. Taiwan should be included in all WHO activities. We can beat this fearful disease only together with people who want to help.


  Robert Hajšel (S&D). – Vážená pani predsedajúca, Európska únia musí naozaj zabrániť šíreniu nielen koronavírusu, ale aj šíreniu propagandy, ktorá sa šíri okolo tohoto vírusu na internete a na sociálnych médiách. Európska komisia a kompetenčné orgány musia prijať potrebné opatrenia v potrebnom čase.

Ja si myslím, doposiaľ čo sa urobilo je dobré, ale nemôžme zaspať, aj keď si myslíme, že prípady rozšírenia koronavírusu sú zatiaľ v Európe izolované. Nemusí tak byť dlho.

My musíme hlavne zdieľať informácie a informácie musíme aj ďalej komunikovať našim občanom. Ide o to, aby naši ľudia vedeli ako predchádzať, ako sa táto, ako sa tento vírus šíri. Ja teraz sa chcem pozastaviť na jednej veci, a to je predchádzanie. Lebo predchádzanie je vždy lepšie ako liečiť, a bohužiaľ napríklad rúška sú nedostatok rúšok na trhu. Len niektoré rúška sú účinné, a treba povedať a treba to komunikovať občanom, že nákaza sa šíri najmä cez ústa, nos ale aj cez ruky a cez pevné materiály, čiže treba o tom informovať ľudí a hlavne deti v škole. Inak pokiaľ ide o rúška, samozrejme najúčinnejším je protokol FFP3, takže prosím, aby aj Európska komisia v tomto vyvinula úsilie a dostalo sa to, tieto informácie priamo občanom.


  Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, Madame la Commissaire, l’émergence du coronavirus nous confirme le caractère mondial des crises sanitaires. Non, les virus ne s’arrêtent pas aux frontières.

Vous l’avez rappelé, Madame la Commissaire, l’Union européenne a bien joué son rôle de coordination et d’accompagnement des pays membres: recommandations pour les personnels de santé, organisation du rapatriement des ressortissants européens en Chine, financement de la recherche à hauteur de 10 millions d’euros pour trouver de nouveaux médicaments et de nouveaux vaccins.

Nous avons entendu ces derniers jours des propos très critiques sur le gouvernement chinois. Le moment n’est pas à donner des leçons, ni à instrumentaliser une crise de santé publique pour en faire un sujet politique. Le moment est celui de la solidarité vis-à-vis des populations chinoises et de leurs médecins qui se battent à leurs côtés. Le moment est aussi celui de la main tendue vers les pays, et je pense à l’Afrique, où le système sanitaire est fragile et ne permettra pas de contenir une épidémie.


  Petra De Sutter (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, no single country or organisation can stop this coronavirus outbreak alone. The EU should closely collaborate with Member States, the WHO, the Chinese Government and other international partners, including Taiwan. The international community should support all efforts to end this outbreak, but human rights should not be a casualty of the coronavirus.

Several international rights groups have signalled that the Chinese Government has been withholding information, suppressing freedom of expression and denying access to food and medicines. On the other hand, elsewhere in the world there is an increase in anti-Chinese or anti-Asian xenophobia and discrimination. International law is very clear that during a time of public health emergency, any restrictions on human rights should be based on legality, necessity, proportionality and grounded in evidence. I count on the EU to protect our health and to protect human rights, within the EU and elsewhere.


  Peter Liese (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin! Auch ich möchte den Betroffenen mein Mitgefühl ausdrücken, vor allen Dingen mein Beileid den Angehörigen der Todesopfer. Auch ich unterstütze, was die Kommissarin gesagt hat – dass wir in Europa zusammenarbeiten müssen. Aber wenn wir den Titel der Debatte „Menschenrechte“ sehen, dann müssen wir doch noch einmal deutlich unterstreichen, dass hier eine krasse Verletzung der Meinungsfreiheit zu einer Verschärfung der Krise geführt hat und dass wir außerdem ein großes Problem haben: dass ein Teil der Weltgemeinschaft, nämlich Taiwan, ausgeschlossen ist von den Koordinierungsmaßnahmen – aus ideologischen Gründen. Ich denke, das sollte eine wichtige Botschaft sein: Ideologie darf nicht über Gesundheit stehen. Das muss jetzt auch in China deutlich werden.


  Heléne Fritzon (S&D). – Fru talman, fru kommissionär! Detta är en viktig debatt. Coronaviruset skapar oro i världen. Antalet smittade och döda har ökat kraftigt bara de senaste dygnen. Det är därför av största vikt att vi, kommissionen och medlemsstaterna hela tiden ger våra medborgare korrekt information om viruset och dess risker. Kunskap och forskning är helt avgörande.

Självklart ska vi också verka för att karantän och isolering för personer med symptom används på ett proportionerligt sätt, så att det inte bryter mot de grundläggande mänskliga rättigheterna. Vi ska fördöma det ökade antalet rasistiska attacker mot personer med asiatiskt utseende.

Vi måste nu rikta alla åtgärder och insatser på att hindra spridningen såväl i medlemsstaterna som inom EU och globalt. Jag vill tacka kommissionär Dalli för en mycket tydlig ansvarsbeskrivning när det gäller EU:s ansvar i detta arbete.


  Isabel Wiseler-Lima (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, si la liberté de parole avait été respectée à Wuhan, le coronavirus aurait éventuellement eu une chance d’être contenu.

Li Wenliang, c’est le nom du docteur qui avait prévenu, déjà en décembre, des risques de ce virus. Or, ce qui s’est passé, c’est que ce médecin s’est vu convoqué par les autorités, s’est vu obligé de garder le secret, et s’est même vu obligé de déclarer qu’il avait porté atteinte à l’ordre public et fait de fausses déclarations. Si les autorités avaient mis la même énergie à contrôler d’un point de vue scientifique les affirmations du médecin, aujourd’hui nous n’en serions probablement pas là. La transparence, qui plus est en matière de santé, doit prévaloir, tout comme le bon sens. Permettons à Taïwan, touché par le coronavirus, de participer à l’OMS.

Li Wenliang lui-même, atteint par le coronavirus, vient de décéder, la semaine dernière. Il est devenu un héros pour les internautes chinois qui relient son nom à un appel à la liberté d’expression. Des images réalisées autour du coronavirus sont effacées de l’internet. Des gens sont menacés et se retrouvent en prison pour les avoir rendues publiques. La vérité a été cachée au monde. Il y a eu des impacts dramatiques. Tout cela est inacceptable et nous nous devons de le pointer du doigt pour le prévenir à l’avenir.

Je tiens aussi à remercier profondément tout le personnel médical et scientifique qui travaille sans relâche.

(L’oratrice accepte de répondre à une question «carton bleu» (article 162, paragraphe 8, du règlement).)


  Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Renew), question «carton bleu». – Madame Wiseler-Lima – en français pour ma collègue française –, je voudrais simplement savoir si vous avez lu un ouvrage intitulé La Peste, d’Albert Camus.


  Isabel Wiseler-Lima (PPE), réponse «carton bleu». – Oui, absolument, Madame Trillet-Lenoir.

à la fin de ce livre, une phrase dit que «le bacille de la peste ne meurt jamais» et qu’il faut être très vigilant. Camus faisait référence au fait que la liberté est quelque chose qu’il faut absolument sauvegarder. Il faisait référence à la peste brune, au nazisme, et au fait que nous devons toujours rester vigilants et que les libertés fondamentales sont des libertés que nous devons toujours, toujours, préserver.

Merci beaucoup, je suis vraiment contente que vous ayez mentionné La Peste.


  Dolors Montserrat (PPE). – Señora presidenta, la propia China reconoce que hay dificultades y fallos en su respuesta y, por la falta de transparencia de China, sigue la incertidumbre sobre la extensión del brote. Tampoco tenemos información de África. Por lo tanto, se trata de una emergencia de salud pública que está poniendo a prueba a las naciones —la resistencia de las naciones—, las instituciones públicas, privadas, centros de trabajo, escuelas, eventos económicos importantes —como, por ejemplo, el Mobile World Congress de Barcelona, que esta tarde ha sido cancelado por el coronavirus—.

Los ciudadanos de la Unión nos piden acciones concretas y soluciones europeas. Por tanto, exigimos una única línea de respuesta, coordinada y armonizada con la OMS y con todos los Estados miembros. Necesitamos una estrategia de comunicación conjunta e inmediata que dé tranquilidad y seguridad a todos los europeos, porque solo así combatiremos la desinformación, las fakes news, los estigmas que solo provocan alarmas.

Yo misma, como ciudadana europea, echo de menos en centros públicos información de cómo podemos prevenir el coronavirus. Por tanto, en el Partido Popular hemos tomado la iniciativa con medidas concretas. La primera, una estrategia de comunicación clara que inspire confianza; cooperar en la investigación de vacunas; disponer de big data, para lo que hemos propuesto un cuestionario para los pasajeros que entren en territorio europeo; y, sobre todo, cooperar con el resto del mundo. Y, por tanto, mañana, exigimos a los ministros de Sanidad y a la comisaria que den una respuesta unida y efectiva a la... (la presidenta retira la palabra a la oradora).


  Antonio Tajani (PPE). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la posizione del Partito popolare europeo è molto chiara. Noi sosteniamo l'azione della Commissione europea, ma chiediamo alla Commissione europea, fin da domani mattina, di fare in modo che ci sia una risposta coordinata da parte di tutti gli Stati membri dell'Unione europea.

Uniti con le stesse misure si può affrontare un'emergenza che ha drammaticamente colpito la Cina e che non vogliamo che colpisca l'Europa. Ecco perché serve unità, servono misure. Noi abbiamo proposto quella di un questionario che permetta di sapere se coloro che arrivano in Europa hanno trascorso giornate in Cina nelle regioni a più alto contagio. È una proposta concreta che abbiamo fatto alla Commissione. Dobbiamo andare avanti e se vogliamo evitare il panico dobbiamo agire rapidamente e concretamente.

Ultima cosa: la Cina non ha fatto tutto ciò che doveva e continua a fare non ciò che deve. Sono mancate informazioni, si è iniziato in ritardo. I cinesi sono le prime vittime di un sistema che sta facendo come ha fatto l'Unione Sovietica con la vicenda di Cernobyl. Nascondere le tragedie significa creare danni enormi ai propri cittadini. I cinesi sono le prime vittime del regime comunista cinese.


„Catch the eye” eljárás


  Tudor Ciuhodaru (S&D). – Doamna președintă, la ora când facem această dezbatere, numărul cazurilor a crescut peste o mie de ori față de prima lună și sunt 1 118 decese. Nicio țară nu se poate lupta singură cu un astfel de fenomen, iar, din acest punct de vedere, eu cred că dreptul la sănătate este un drept fundamental pe care trebuie să-l apărăm cu toții, dincolo de orice culoare politică.

Am fost primul care a cerut în plenul Parlamentului European un plan european integrat de acțiune și mă bucur că o parte dintre aceste măsuri au fost luate, acest sistem de alertă rapidă, activarea mecanismului european de protecție civilă.

Dar să știți că, atunci când ne aflăm într-o astfel de situație, ar trebui să ne pregătim și de intervenție. Vorbim de țări europene care au sisteme de sănătate inegale, nu avem încă un standard european de calitate în sănătate, iar, în fața unui astfel de fenomen care poate să creeze mari probleme, ar trebui să avem o atitudine unitară.

Și sper, doamna comisar, ca mâine dimineață să stabiliți acel mod de integrare a sistemului de reacție pe sănătate, chiar dacă este vorba, și poate va fi nevoie, măcar să ne pregătim ca acel corp medical european să intervină. Și, așa cum m-am oferit voluntar când a fost vorba de epidemia de Ebola, eu fiind medic, medic de urgență în Iași, în România, mă ofer voluntar și dacă este nevoie să se intervină într-o astfel de situație. Vă felicit pentru măsurile luate și cred că lucrurile bune trebuie să continue.


  Clare Daly (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, in Ireland, we have over 2 000 excess winter deaths as a result of fuel poverty and a bad health service, from a population of 4.5 million. This virus has led to the deaths of over a thousand, and while I regret every one of those deaths, we have to maintain a sense of perspective and we have to, as the Commissioner said, let this matter be dealt with by science and in calm, emphasising research, clinical trials, containment and close collaboration.

I have to salute the efforts of the Chinese, who have done their very best to contain this virus in difficult circumstances, and I think all Member States have to reciprocate and redouble their efforts. The Commissioner said Member States have introduced a variety of measures at entry points to the EU. I have to say my own country, Ireland, has been poor in that regard, but I do welcome your points to help China. I think that’s really important and to ward against the discrimination that surrounds this issue.


  Michaela Šojdrová (PPE). – Paní předsedající, paní komisařko, děkuji za Vaši zprávu a souhlasím s mnoha předřečníky. Myslím si, že je potřeba rychlá informovanost a spolupráce.

O to více je pro mě nepochopitelné, že Čína, která volá po solidaritě a pomoci, tak odmítla pomoc Tchaj-wanu, který nabídl zdravotnické prostředky a pomoc s léčbou. Tchaj-wan je země, která má jeden z nejrozvinutějších zdravotnických systémů. Já souhlasím s kolegy, že musíme prosadit, aby Tchaj-wan měl své zastoupení v orgánech Světové zdravotnické organizace.

Myslím si, že zdraví má přednost před politikou, a proto chci, paní komisařko, abyste ověřila tuto zprávu, zda je to pravda, že Čína opravdu odmítla tuto pomoc. Chci říci, že my se nebráníme solidaritě, naopak. I v ČR se zvedla vlna solidarity a obyčejní lidé posílají finanční prostředky i materiální pomoc Číně. Zdraví má přednost před politikou.


  Jan Zahradil (ECR). – Madam President, it was really good to hear that the EU is ready and willing to tackle this dangerous outbreak in cooperation with Member States, of course, and also that the EU is already working with China to help and assist in fighting that. Let me remind you that the EU and China have been strategic partners since 2003. We have already seen some impact on the global economy and growth because of uncertainty, and because China is too important a global player. So if it is internally hit by the disease, it will also have global consequences.

If the EU wants to be a global player and it wants to show global responsibility, it’s time to revive that strategic partnership, like Mr Bütikofer rightly pointed out, to better include China within the World Health Organisation (WHO) framework. It should also fight the general anti-Chinese or anti-Asian moods that have been spreading throughout Europe in the last month at least, because they are very dangerous.


  Mick Wallace (GUE/NGL). – Madam President, in 2009 the swine flu broke out in the US. It spread to 100 countries and over 10 000 died from it. This year alone in the US, 19 million people got the flu; 10 000 have died, 180 000 have been hospitalised. I actually find it amusing that the manner in which people have used this to try and undermine the Chinese State is a bit scary. If the Chinese have a problem with coronavirus, do you not think that they need our solidarity and our help and our cooperation? They don’t need us to panic, they don’t need us to kick them around the place because they have a problem. They built a hospital in 10 days. We wouldn’t even get the paperwork done in six months because there are so many people wanting a piece of the pie.

The fact that they’re not a neoliberal state – they’ve actually been better fitted than most to actually deal with the crisis. We should be applauding them, and in fairness to the Commission here, they’ve actually been pretty positive about the Chinese reaction; the WHO have been pretty positive about it – but do you know what? For people in Europe to throw stones at them and to use human rights issues and whatever to actually undermine the Chinese position is pretty sickening. Do you know what? We’ve a lot to learn from the Chinese.


(„Catch the eye” eljárás vége)


  Helena Dalli, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I thank you and the honourable Members for an informed and valuable discussion. I have taken note of all of your comments. But, regarding Taiwan vis—à—vis the WHO, we promote practical solutions without formal involvement regarding Taiwan’s participation in international frameworks when this is consistent with the One—China policy. With regards to Chinese services, we are in daily contact and we have no reason to doubt the information which they give us.

I also want to put your minds at rest that we are in contact with the African authorities, and that the EU has a cooperation agreement with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control. We are making sure that we are prepared, and therefore no panic, but vigilance.

I appreciate the fact that we share a common objective on this issue to ensure an effective, coherent EU—level response to the coronavirus outbreak. We are working closely with Member States and doing all that we can to ensure that we succeed. However, success also depends on coordination with, and active participation from, all key stakeholders, including the European Parliament. It also depends on political will, which has been demonstrated here today.

The EU Council Presidency, as we have already said, has organised an Extraordinary Health Council, which will be taking place tomorrow. This will provide another important opportunity to enhance our coordination.

Success also requires alignment of preparedness and response measures, including at the EU’s external borders. This would support China’s efforts to contain the virus and mitigate any further transmission within and into the EU, as well as assisting third countries with weak health systems. In fact, this should be our ultimate goal: to support China and the international response whilst protecting European citizens, and it is possible. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and take the necessary actions, and we will keep the European Parliament abreast of all the developments.


  Elnök asszony. – A vitát berekesztik.

Írásos nyilatkozatok (171. cikk)


  Manuel Pizarro (S&D), por escrito. – A ameaça global do coronavírus constitui um teste à eficácia da cooperação interna da UE a nível da saúde. Mas essa cooperação não será suficiente se não for articulada, ao nível da OMS, com todos os países da comunidade internacional afetados, com vista a conter e, a prazo, vencer a epidemia.

Nesse sentido, a UE deve diligenciar para que Taiwan, onde vivem 23 milhões de pessoas, não continue a ser o único país com casos confirmados de coronavírus excluído das reuniões técnicas da OMS, como tem acontecido desde o início do surto. Essa exclusão é não só inexplicável como irresponsável. No passado, Taiwan pôde participar em reuniões da OMS com o estatuto de observador. A exclusão deste país das reuniões relacionadas com a resposta ao coronavírus é, por isso, ainda mais incompreensível. A inclusão de Taiwan nesses convénios, bem como na 73ª Assembleia da OMS a ter lugar proximamente, deve ser objeto de démarches por parte das autoridades europeias. Para além disso, há ainda que averiguar os relatos de discriminação contra asiáticos no espaço europeu no contexto desta epidemia, inadmissíveis à luz dos valores da União.

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