Winkler: It is high time to find European solidarity and joint action in the face of danger

27.03.2020 | European Parliament
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Winkler: It is high time to find European solidarity and joint action in the face of danger

In the midst of the crisis caused by the pandemic, the EU’s priority is people’s lives and their health. In order to achieve results, however, European solidarity and joint action must be found in the face of this danger, stressed MEP Iuliu Winkler (RMDSZ, EPP) in the explanation of vote on the approval of emergency financial measures under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative. Iuliu Winkler also points out that the first urgency is to fight the pandemic, to strengthen public health systems and to coordinate the cooperation of European healthcare systems. “Nothing is more precious than people’s lives and their health. But we need to make it clear that saving economies is just as urgent. We are already overwhelmed by the rapid evolution of the economic crisis. Therefore, all challenges must be faced simultaneously. We must now design public policies that will relaunch the EU after the pandemic. In this effort, the EP must fully manifest its initiative”, stated the RMDSZ MEP.

Winkler considers it extremely important for the EP to adopt the initiative by which Member States will have access to €37 billion to support citizens, businesses and healthcare systems. He further stressed that the other two decisions of the Parliament related to the crisis, in the field of air transport and the EUR 800 million increase of the EU Solidarity Fund, are equally important. “All these decisions are necessary, but insufficient. The first EU crisis measures were uncoordinated, showing that the European institutions were unprepared and that the information needed for an immediate response was not available. In recent days, we have witnessed contradictory, even chaotic, decisions made by Member States. European solidarity has completely evaporated”, said Winkler.

He expressed his hope that all this would change fundamentally and immediately. “I hope that the European Parliament, which organized a plenary session under the most difficult logistical conditions, ensuring the possibility of an overwhelming majority of MEPs to vote from a distance, will succeed, starting already tomorrow, to bring back to reality the urgent necessity for European solidarity and joint action. The pandemic generated a public health crisis, but also economic and social crises. Citizens’ lives are endangered in all Member States, European economies will enter into severe recession, and social problems will escalate. The perpetuation of the discord puts us in danger of seeing a break–down of the European project. That is why the EU’s response to the crisis must be a primarily political one. European solidarity and joint action in the face of dangers ought to be found, urgently. I strongly believe that the prioritary scope of the emergency actions should be the people, their families and their jobs. These are the priorities that the RMDSZ promotes. Solutions to combat these multiple crises need to be formulated at European level, but they must be implemented at the level of the regions in a way that the final beneficiaries of the European action are the people”, added Winkler in his explanation of vote.

Through the measures taken by the European Commission (EC) and approved by the European Parliament, Romania has immediately available financial resources of over €500 million and another €637 million from April 2020. The total amount of resources at the disposal of our country adds up to €3 billion out of the €37 billion mobilized by the Commission. These resources do not represent “fresh money”, but rather existing funding from cohesion funds, redistributed by the EC for action against the COVID-19 pandemic.