Last week, ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen joined a webinar organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation South Caucasus and Georgian think tank Civic Idea to discuss the liberal response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
In his intervention, van Baalen stressed the need of experts – who are vital to political decision-making – during the crisis. This crisis and its unprecedented character demand courage and devotion from policy makers, even if doctors and virologists do not yet know what will come next.
“With 50% of the information you must take 100% of the decisions which is very difficult in times of crisis,” van Baalen said.
When it comes to solving the crisis, van Baalen noted that the European Union is limited in its approach. However, despite this, EU Member States have shown immense solidarity.
To reach a consensus on the budget, Macron and Merkel have proposed a joint recovery plan, which van Baalen sees as an important step to overcome the negative economic consequences of the Corona crisis.
“It will take time and a lot of discussion to agree upon a financial recovery plan. The Marshall plan was not built in a day. It took months before a consensus was reached, but it helped. This will be the same for this plan and the European long-term budget,” van Baalen said.
Van Baalen also reminded the audience on the importance of international cooperation: working together is crucial so that best practices can be shared.
Hans van Baalen was joined in the discussion by Turkish Ambassador to Georgia, Fatma Ceren Yazgan; FDP member of the German Federal parliament, Torsten Herbst; Programme Manager of the German Marshall Fund, Nad’a Kovalcikova; Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Dr. Mika Aaltola and Chairperson of the Political Council, David Usupashvili. The webinar was moderated by Tinatin Khidasheli, Chairperson of Civic Idea.
You can re-watch the discussion here.