Today, the president of the Socialists and Democrats, Iratxe García, welcomed the Communication presented yesterday by the European Commission on the early lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Socialists and Democrats back key proposals included in the document, such as adopting the legislation for a Health Union by the end of the year, improving the early warning system and achieving a permanent capacity to produce 300 million vaccines within six months of any new health emergency.
However, the leader of the S&D Group insisted on the need to conduct a broader analysis of the last 18 months and called for the establishment of a Special Committee in the European Parliament.
MEP Iratxe García said:
“The document prepared by the Commission sheds light on important shortcomings we the Socialists and Democrats have been flagging up for a long time, such as the need for continuous and increased investment in health systems, and the need for more public-private partnerships to build stronger supply chains for critical sectors, such as medical equipment and medicines.
“It is now clear that the EU has neglected public policies for too long, because it was obsessed with austerity and neo-liberal policies. I am glad times have changed and we are now all aware of the consequences of laissez-faire. This is the time to invest in what belongs to all of us. Only public policies can guarantee that our societies will be prepared whenever a crisis breaks out.
“But the Covid crisis does not affect only health, it is a social and economic crisis as well. It has hit people hard and we also know that climate change and the loss of biodiversity could have also facilitated the emergence and spread of the virus. This is why we must look beyond the health aspects and engage in a more comprehensive and transversal analysis of this crisis. This should be the task of a Special Committee in the European Parliament: to discuss all the angles, from health to social and economic aspects, from education to culture and tourism, as well as the pandemic’s impact on our civil liberties and our democracy, and its global dimension. This Special Committee could present its first conclusions in one year."