16 April 2020
The ECR Group used the plenary debate on Covid-19 measures as an opportunity to stress how it is time to show true European solidarity. The European Union should overhaul the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), postpone the Green Deal and avoid politicising the crisis against EU Member States, in articular against Hungary and Poland, and instead face up to the challenges which are inherent to the corona crisis.
Speaking on behalf of the ECR Group, Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto said:
“We must say loud and clear, Europe was completely unprepared. Unprepared in the coordinating role that it should have been playing. An even graver issue is the certain member states who conducted themselves very selfishly when the word solidarity - which incidentally has been used as a buzzword this morning - should have been guiding everyone. This is something that needs to be considered in a calm and collected fashion. This is especially true when thinking about what is going to happen over the course of the days and months to come.
“It is indeed a health tragedy, but it’s crucial to begin thinking about what Europe is going to do in terms of the economy. We must avoid this health tragedy becoming an economic one which would have devastating and irreversible ramifications for Europe and the member states.
“It is incumbent on me, at this moment, to make some essential remarks. First, I have a nasty feeling that the thinking that was prevalent before the pandemic continues to characterise the current narrative. This is in terms of timing inconvening discussions, but also in the attitude which happens to be present in the resolution we are voting on today and to which we are wholly opposed. For example, finding time and space to instrumentalise politics such as article 7 against the Polish and Hungarian governments. This is completely uncalled for during a time of unprecedented crisis. At a moment like this we must focus our minds on economic relief, we are going to have to ensure such efforts are indeed an effective response to our citizens, our workers and our companies.
“It is unimaginable to continue discussing the programmes we have spoken about in the past for example the Green Deal. It’s impossible in such a context to contemplate such a deal. Surely it’s the time to rethink the choices we are taking. At the same time it’s vital to come up with clear and effective responses with innovative instruments which showcase true European solidarity as is expected from our citizens.”
Mr Fitto began his speech by adding an Italian perspective:
“We think about the tens of thousands of victims who are unfortunately being added to the death toll each day. I would also like to underline the work undertaken by healthcare workers, medics, voluntary workers, the forces of law and order, and indeed everyone who is helping us tackle this pandemic.”
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