CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC – R&D’s plea for

Brussels, 21 April 2020

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

R&D’s plea for the European Commission

to be back as the true engine of European Integration and to play a pivotal role in this crisis

Dear President von der Leyen,

By our previous communication (link), R&D federal, the largest Trade Union representing the staff of the EU Institutions, Executive and Decentralised Agencies and other EU Bodies, has called upon you and the college to play a pivotal role in tackling effectively the COVID-19 pandemic at EU level.

We once again would like to sincerely thank the hundreds of colleagues who have shown us their full support and encouraged us to maintain our efforts.

On 10 April 2020, the Eurogroup has indeed identified a strategy with a  basket of 19 measures to tackle the crisis both from an economic and public health point of view.

Our economists’ task force at R&D believes that these measures are pointing in the right direction.

However, they are still far from being sufficient to generate the shock needed to flatten the depression curve and generate a U-shape recovery.

Indeed, both SURE and the Pandemic Crisis Support within the European Stability Mechanism are useful and innovative tools but are nothing much more than a drop in the ocean in a context of a macroeconomic symmetric crisis.

In two days, the European Council will meet to make a final decision on the proposed measures from the Eurogroup adopted.

All Europeans will therefore turn their eyes upon Brussels to make sure that the thousands of deaths every country has suffered did not happen in vain.

On 17 April 2020, you addressed  European Parliament.

R&D appreciates that you decided to speak in front of the elected representatives of the EU citizens beacause we believe and have always supported that only if ALL involved parties are working together, then they will find sensible solutions to unprecedented challenges.

On that occasion, you praised, inter alia, the great work of doctors and nurses all around Europe to save thousands of lives. You furthermore apologized to the countries that had suffered the most without EU-wide solidarity coming towards them.

R&D thanks you warmly for your statements that go in the right direction.

We must not forget that on 9 March 2020 – the day you completed your first 100 days in office – hundreds of people had already lost their lives due to the pandemic in many Member States.

Each Member State has developed its own strategy, advised by its own scientific committee, as if there were 28 different Covid-19 : some opted for immediate and strict containment, others struggled before settling on it; and others, until recently, did not take any far-reaching measures, betting on the theory of “collective immunity”.

Moreover, amid this cacophony, the European Institutions issued various recommendations without the slightest truly common European approach.

At the same time, all across the continent, many families are hit by the hard reality of the crisis,  having to choose between feeding their children or paying their mortgages.

EU citizens, after all, want and deserve answers to their problems and they cannot afford to wait any longer: answers provided today will shape the Europe of tomorrow!

“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters”.

History will tell whether the European Union has grown to this challenge or simply vanished for lack of political courage and solidarity.

The feeling of abandonment is already so strong in many Member States, and the European disenchantment is growing in a worrying manner.

Will we be able to show all European citizens that they can count on a European Union that remains true to its founding values, or will we leave the field to Eurosceptics ?

If the EU as a whole is not able to provide immediate relief to those who suffer, we should not wonder why radicalisation and anti-EU rhetoric blossom. 

The enemies of the EU project have jumped at this unexpected opportunity to spew their venom. Their perfidy is boundless because, if Europe is not working well, it is also because they refuse to conceive that it could actually work better.

The EU staff is more than ever committed to strive for a Europe that works, a political Union with the tools and means to protect the people and the common interest, whatever it takes.

Time is running out. The circumstances call for creativity. Time is calling for unfailing solidarity of Europe.

This pandemic will have destroyed our economies as much as a war. The launch of a new Marshall Plan is therefore urgent.

After the COVID-19 resolution approved last week by the European Parliament with an overwhelming majority of 395 MEPs against 171, the European Commission has to face its tasks and embrace its right of initiative.

R&D thinks that three priorities must be underlined:

1.         No country should be left behind;

2.         No economy should be an isolated victim of the pandemic;

3.         All EU countries must have fair access, under comparable conditions, to the financing needed to fund their plans.

We fully support the substantial increase in the EU budget that you have called for and we are convinced that a fourth pillar will be needed and this additional support can only come from non-conventional instruments.

R&D urges the European Commission together with the European Parliament to lead immediately and play its role for a true European Solidarity, and is therefore:

  • Calling on you, as the President of the European Commission and the College, to draw an ambitious and revised MFF proposal, to boost the economy and generate positive macroeconomic spill-overs;
  • Calling on you, as President of the European Commission and the College, to support the European Parliement COVID-19 resolution and to put forward an unprecedented trillion € reconstruction plan based on recovery bonds to sustain our economy;
  • Calling on you, as President of the European Commission and the College, to keep coordinating all the actions in the health field as it has been the case for the past two weeks.

On behalf of R&D FEDERAL,

Cristiano Sebastiani, R&D Commission, Executive and Decentralised agencies, other EU bodies

Beatrice Postiglione, R&D Council

Pasquale Ciuffreda, R&D European Parliament

Oren Wolff, R&D EEAS

Dimitrios Katsanidis, R&D CoR and EESC 

Copy:

D. Sassoli, President of the European Parliament

C. Michel, President of the European Council

College of Commissioners

The Staff

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