ID Group tables resolution on Covid-19 crisis
The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in China in November 2019. Since then, the virus has spread rapidly around the globe, with more than 3 million infections worldwide and more than 200 000 deaths. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic.
On 14 April 2020, the ID Group tabled a motion for a resolution on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. In this resolution, the ID Group first and foremost extends its sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved-ones because of the pandemic and also expresses its gratitude towards those working in essential services at the frontline of fighting the outbreak, including, but not limited to, medical staff, law enforcement, and those involved in food production and distribution.
With regard to the management of the outbreak, the ID Group is critical of the fact that Chinese authorities were aware of the outbreak well before they informed the World Health Organization (WHO) and the rest of the world. The ID group is concerned about the fact that the Commission’s first coordinated measures in response to the outbreak were only announced on 13 March, several weeks after the first cases were discovered in Europe.
The ID Group is of the opinion that a test-and-trace strategy could have led to the identification of infections, isolating hotspots and thus minimising the impact of COVID-19, and that a lack of such testing has necessitated lock-downs and shut-downs all over the EU. The ID Group further considers that overcoming the pandemic must take priority over all other EU projects and calls for a moratorium on EU actions with a focus on geographical areas and structures outside the EU, except where required to protect EU citizens or to protect the external border of the EU. The ID Group is further of the opinion that the EU should contribute to solving the crisis within its current institutional framework and rejects any call to pursue innovative institutional reforms of the EU, since the Member States are better equipped to effectively fight the crisis. Nonetheless, the ID Group stresses the need for cooperation and the appropriateness of mutual assistance between EU Member States.
In addition, the ID Group asks for a complete refocus of the priorities for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, taking into account the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and requests that the budget foreseen for “climate mainstreaming” instead be mobilised for COVID-19-related measures. Regarding supply chains, it is of utmost importance to keep strategic sectors and the production of the major strategic supplies within the EU, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices, in order to reverse the current situation in which the largest part of the supply chain is delocalised and not under control of - and readily available to - EU Member States.
The ID Group furthermore rejects the Commission’s proposal to demand data from telecom providers, and urges Member States to obtain the consent of individuals before using applications (apps) that monitor people’s movements, contacts and health data.
The ID Group urges all EU Member States to increase their testing capabilities in order to obtain more accurate data on the virus and to facilitate the isolation of the virus. The ID Group is acutely aware of the serious impact emergency measures have had on the most basic rights of EU citizens and therefore calls for an end to the lockdowns, as soon as is reasonably possible and responsible.