Coronavirus – R&D demands the European Commission to shape the European Union of tomorrow and not let (once again) millions of citizens down

Brussels, 6 May 2020

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

R&D demands the European Commission to shape the European Union of tomorrow and not let (once again) millions of citizens down

Dear President von der Leyen,

By our previous communications issued after the Euro-group and ahead of the European Council on the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 thank sincerely the hundreds of colleagues who constantly show us their full support and encourage us to act as true watchdogs of how this crisis is handled.

On 23 April 2020, the European Council has issued a rather synthetic, and in our opinion somewhat disappointing, declaration on some of the instruments to recover from the economic depression.

Amongst the above-mentioned instruments, we find a package worth 540 bn. € consisting of the so called SURE, a “low conditionality” European Stability Mechanism to modernize healthcare sectors and a more active role of the European Investment Bank: the agreement on those instruments did not come up as a surprise since they were less contentious.

These measures are welcome but as previously stated not enough

The European Council has, also (and probably more significantly), entrusted you and the college with the hard task to come up with a revised proposal on the next MFF as well as on how to finance the European Recovery Fund.

 The next MFF should be the “mother ship” of the recovery plan

The next MFF will play a central role in the economic recovery. It will have to reflect the impact of this crisis and the size of the challenges ahead.

We welcome the Commission’s intention to adapt its MFF proposal to reflect the new situation and outlook. Like you have rightly mentioned, the seven-year MFF should be the “mother ship” of this recovery plan and held out the prospect of trillions of euros of investment to fund a post-pandemic rebound.

In fact, with all EU countries experiencing two-digit drop in their respective GDPs, it is easy to understand that there is a long way to go.

Size does matter…after all!

Concerning the size of the stimulus needed, like you have rightly underlined “we are not talking about billions, we are talking about trillions”

Whether we like it or not, the COVID-19 pandemic knows certainly no borders, is blind to nationalities and has touched all of the Member States although some more than others

The pandemic has reinforced both the need to strengthen the EU integration process and to use collective intelligence

The same collective intelligence that you and the college have shown by coordinating the Coronavirus Global Response to gather significant funding to ensure the collaborative development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus (which R&D had asked for in the very beginning of the outbreak of the pandemic).

By taking global leadership in raising over 7.5 billion €, you have shown that –after all- international coordination, substantial financial commitments and size do matter in the end.

All over Europe, containment measures are now progressively being eased. One after the other, various Member States slowly enter the so-called phase 2 of the crisis.

Not so slowly though, ever more citizens are confronted with the true cost of this unprecedented health emergency.

To name a few: loved ones having passed away, millions of unemployed, pupils of low income families that will suffer the most from closed schools, recent graduates with no income who risk a lost decade in terms of career opportunities, stark increases in domestic violence, and women who in many member states either had the most precarious jobs or worked in the most hit sectors.

More than ever, we therefore need to ensure that nobody is left behind and that the European Union is reaching its ambitions.

More than ever, we must ensure that citizens all over the Union are not let down by lack of ambition or fear that the EC proposal could be at some point watered down by the European Council as this has so often been the case in the past.

R&D expects therefore you and the College to be consequential in your MFF and Recovery Fund proposals.

This is why R&D by calling for true European Solidarity and is:

  • Calling on you and College to put forward as it has been reported by the press a MFF proposal which will raise the EU’s “own resources” ceiling from 1.2 per of Gross National Income (GNI) to around 2 per cent
  • Calling on you and the College to ensure that the Recovery Fund package would contain a mixture of grants and loans and also unprecedented and innovative tools to ensure that no “old wine in new bottles” approach is adopted
  • Calling on you and the College to act by having in mind that the proposals you will put forward to the European Parliament and the European Council will shape the European Union of our children and grandchildren.

On behalf of R&D Federal

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

Beatrice Postiglione, R&Council

Pasquale Ciuffreda, R&European Parliament

Oren Wolff, R&EEAS

Dimitrios Katsanidis, R&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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