CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC : “Good for the citizens, good for the Institutions”

Brussels, 23 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Communication n°7:

Good for the citizens, good for the Institutions

R&D appreciates the deal reached with the EP and

now calls to go an extra mile to finally seal the package

Dear President von der Leyen, dear President Sassoli, dear President Michel,

In our six previous communications (link), R&D federal , the largest Trade Union representing the staff of the EU Institu­tions, Executive and Decentralised Agencies and other EU Bodies, analysed -via its taskforce of economists- the tragic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and called upon all involved stakeholders to reach swiftly an agreement entailing both an increased envelope and innovative and unprecedented investment tools.

We once again would like to thank sincerely the hundreds of colleagues who constantly show us their full support and encourage us not to let anything go in this important combat both for the citizens in every corner of the Union and the credibility of the Institutions at large.

Like so, R&D federal therefore warmly welcomes the agreement reached with the European Parliament last week on an increased MFF.

The deal, we believe, not only shows your leadership in favouring such a result but it is a good compromise between the Council’s July package and the initial requests of the European Parliament’s budget Committee, which had asked for an increase of €39 billion.

Moreover, the good news comes during a week where the results of various phase-3 vaccine trials have been disclosed: it has also been thanks to the massive European Commission’s efforts to secure a sufficient number of jabs that we can now finally say that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

On the one hand, we want to celebrate the “health package” adopted by the Commission consisting of a set of proposals to strengthen the EU’s health security framework and to reinforce the crisis preparedness and response role of the relevant EU agencies: the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

As we’ve already stressed in our previous communications, it is crucial to draw lessons from the current crisis, analysing what has been done and what can be improved.

We fully support President von der Leyen’s commitment to better protect the health of all European citizens underling that “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for more coordination in the EU, more resilient health systems, and better preparation for future crises….Today, we start building a European Health Union, to protect citizens with high quality care in a crisis, and equip the Union and its Member States to prevent and manage health emergencies that affect the whole of Europe.”

We cannot agree more because that’s exactly what we had requested in our previous communications, and we can guarantee that our staff is fully committed to work hard more than ever to support this project!

On the other hand, there is no denying that with € 16 billion more compared to the initial amount, both the next MFF and NextGeneratioEU are much better equipped to meet the many challenges in the years ahead.  

In particular, Horizon Europe (with a final endowment above the initial European Commission’s proposal of 2018), EU4Health (which has tripled) and Erasmus+ (whose increase equals to one year of program as such) show us clearly that innovation (in all its multidimensional uses and implications, environment included), health and culture will be key in building up the bright future of the post pandemic world.

That being said, we cannot help notice that the agreement is not yet adopted.

Though we do not wish to enter in political debates, R&D federal considers that amid the worst economic and health crisis of the last 100 years, nobody can support to delay any longer the final adoption of measures which could help millions of citizens and SMEs in the 27 Member States.

Therefore, R&D federal :

  • Call on you to work tirelessly to make possible the adoption of the package avoiding, once for all, cheap theater tricks;
  • Ask you to adopt any possible measure insuring that EU budget is well spent, reaching people who most need it;  
  • Ask you to open up a reflection (once the bulk of the crisis is behind us), on how to improve the decision-making mechanisms of the European Institutions to avoid having to postpone decisions on requests of millions of citizens across the EU

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 

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