European Commission’s action on coronavirus 13.03.2020, written by Łukasz Bejm
President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a comprehensive set of measures that will:
- Ensure the adequate supply of protective equipment and medical supplies across Europe;
- Cushion the blow for people’s livelihoods and the economy by applying full flexibility of EU fiscal rules;
- Set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.
- Provide a coherent set of guidelines to Member States on border measures to protect citizens’ health while allowing the free flow of essential goods
- Restrict temporarily non-essential travel to the European Union
Our priority now is to bend the trend of infection, to give our health systems and workers the time and space to care for those that need it. Our first priority is guaranteeing the health and safety of all our citizens: protecting people from the spread of the virus while maintaining the flow of goods. To this end, the Commission is coordinating daily contact between European Health Ministers and Ministers Interior Affairs.
Science-based guidance is essential. The Commission has launched a board of outstanding scientists — a team of leading epidemiologists and virologists — to anticipate events and develop guidelines and evidence-based strategies for our Union.
Guidelines to national governments on border measures have been provided to guarantee that we protect our citizens’ health while allowing goods and essential staff to reach patients, health systems, factories and shops.
We are at the beginning of this crisis. The Commission stands ready to do more as the situation evolves.
The role of the Commission is mainly to support Member States in addressing the crisis, providing recommendations on a common course of action.
The Commission wants to avoid Member States taking uncoordinated or even contradictory measures that ultimately undermine common efforts to fight the outbreak. Coordination and recommendations are therefore necessary in the areas of public health, but also transport, border control, internal markets and trade.
The crisis coordination mechanism of the Commission has been activated and the Crisis Coordination Committee meets regularly to synergise the action of all the relevant departments and services of the Commission and of the EU agencies. It is chaired by Commissioner Janez Lenarčič in his role of European Emergency Response Coordinator.