Coronavirus Action: EU funding, investment, airline help
An EU united in solidarity: the European Parliament acts against the coronavirus pandemic, backing billions in aid and investment.
Esteban González Pons:
No one must be left behind.
It’s a fast-moving crisis requiring quick EU action to jumpstart the economy.
Esther de Lange:
Now is the moment to fight this together.
…helping key sectors especially hit hard, like aviation.
In an extraordinary session with most lawmakers voting remotely, Parliament said yes to extend the EU Solidarity Fund to cover health emergencies. Up to now it’s been used mainly for natural disasters.
Esteban González Pons, EPP Group Vice President:
The truth is that we do not know what will happen. That is why it is necessary to keep in mind that the solidarity that we give today is the one that we will receive tomorrow. That's what Europe is about.
The move directs 29 billion euros in so-called structural funding to the effort.
Siegfried Mureșan, Romanian MEP:
We should all be concerned with what happens in every single corner of Europe, and the answer to this crisis is solidarity. The important question is how can we achieve solidarity in this crisis and my answer is we can achieve solidarity through concrete measures.
It’s called the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. The package includes 8 billion euros of EU Cohesion Funds to generate investment in health care and other sectors hit hard by the pandemic. It also got a quick green light in parliament.
Daniel Caspary, German MEP:
If the European Solidarity Fund makes money available, and the means of the Regional and Structural Funds are activated in the fight against corona and its impact, then that is Europe.
If researchers also with European funding can overcome barriers to develop tests, vaccines, medicines and treatments, then that is Europe.
Parliament also approved a move to loosen rules on airline landing rights. European carriers have flown virtually empty planes – ghost flights - to keep their reserved slots at airport terminals.
The move simplifies rules on landing slots. It’s no longer ‘’use them or lose them.’’
Parliament also debated proposals to loosen state-aid rules, allowing EU countries to take on more debt; to cut red tape for medical devices, and to make financial-aid mechanisms, created in the financial crisis 10 years ago, available to tackle the corona pandemic. Strong roles for the EU.
Esther de Lange, Dutch MEP:
Those who always resisted a strong Europe are now screaming the loudest, 'where is the European Commission?' No matter how frustrating we find that, now is not the moment to fight that debate. Now is the moment to fight together.
The EPP Group also wants an EU Crisis Management Center. It wants to increase Horizon Europe to 120 billion euros. Keep internal borders open to ensure the free flow of food and medicines, and boost internet access for distance learning and working.
Laura BarriosEPP TV Assistant ProducerBelgiumlaura.firstname.lastname@example.org+322-2841845