Extracts from statement of President Sassoli at opening of European Parliament Plenary session
“Yesterday we celebrated International Nurses Day and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared 2020 as the year of nurses and midwifes. I would like to start today with a word of praise and thanks to the women and men who provide essential health services with dedication, courage and humanity in such difficult times. It is our common duty to ensure they can do their jobs safely and efficiently.
“Hospital beds, staff, ventilators, and medical equipment have been made available from one country to another thanks to the great work of our civil protection services. These acts of solidarity show the worth of our countries.
“Today, we must reinforce the EU’s health powers. Parliament has called for a European health response mechanism to prepare and respond, in a common and coordinated way, to any type of health crisis.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for a more proactive health policy, greater cooperation to build resilient and accessible health care systems, and, above all else, the need for greater solidarity in Europe.
“We have a great responsibility and must live up to the expectations of European citizens. We must launch a great reflection on the Future of Europe, while providing immediate answers to the problems we face. This crisis teaches us that only together can we start again.”
The full opening statement is available here.