The spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has intensified in the last days, with more than 100.000 cases recorded worldwide and reaching almost every country in Europe.
At the beginning of March, the European Union launched a European response aiming to tackle the outbreak. The response led by a coordination team including Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič consists on supporting Member States, facilitating the coordination to share information and assess needs in order to ensure a coherent EU-wide response. This initiative adds to the monetary contribution to help the global fight of the virus.
This pandemic underlines once again the need for strong and common action at EU level. The spread of diseases, environmental disasters, cross-border crime, economic challenges and migration flows do not stop at national borders.
On 6 March, EU Health Ministers gathered in an extraordinary meeting to discuss the outbreak and demanded solidarity as well as collective and individual awareness from all Member States to tackle this threat.
The past days have not only shown tensions among the Member States as some countries have imposed limits on the exports of protective medical equipment but such measures show us the impact of a crisis scenario and that the EU and its members are not equipped to tackle a crisis together but reveal protective reflexes not in the interest of the EU citizens.
“That is not the spirit of the European Union […] I think we have to be united in the distribution of protective masks," stated Maggie De Block, Belgian Minister of Public Health (Open VLD) following the Health Ministers extraordinary council.
We liberals believe that cooperation between states and a common and coordinated action at supra-national level are needed to tackle crises like this.
“This is the time for us to act as a Union”, highlighted Lenarčič in a statement earlier this month.