The Group of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament called for stronger commitment by the European Union with regard to health.
In a statement, the Group said that the COVID-19 crisis has shown that health threats do not respect borders. Short of closing down borders indefinitely, Member States alone would not be able to slow down the spread of the virus. Nor do they have the means to invest in bespoke medicine or a vaccine on their own. Even though EU countries remain responsible for many parts of health policy, the EPP Group believes the European Union can do a lot more within its existing competences than it is currently doing.
The EPP insisted that when the pandemic hit, the lack of coordinated action at EU level resulted in real problems, particularly in the early stages of the pandemic. There was a shortage of medical equipment as a result of border closures, families were separated, testing was unevenly carried out.
We must not repeat this mistake
“We believe the solution is not to close borders and not to restrict exports of protective equipment. The solution is also not to pit national competences against European competences and see which project fails first. The reality is simple – the pandemic demonstrated that we cannot overcome a crisis of this magnitude by acting on our own. Therefore, the solution as we see it, is to work together.”
In this contest, the EPP has lauched the following proposals:
1) Funds for building hospital infrastructure and health services
2) Develop, produce and share a COVID-19 vaccine
3) Master plan against cancer
4) Encourage digital solutions to fight the Corona crisis
5) Prevent a shortage of life-saving medicine in Europe
6) Better cross-border cooperation
7) More money for health in new EU budget
8) Reduce the use of antibiotics in humans
The EPP said that “while we learn to live with COVID-19, we can no longer close our eyes to our own vulnerability. And we no longer have an excuse for being unprepared. We can face another pandemic only if we coordinate our efforts and stand together as a European family. We are better together.”