The leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García, is closely following developments in the COVID-19 crisis and the European response to it.
Following the announcement of new measures by the European Commission, Iratxe García said:
“There is a lot we can do at the EU level, and this is only the first step. The measures announced today by the European Commission demand legislative changes that must also be adopted in the European Parliament. I am in touch with the president, David Sassoli, and with the services of the Institution to make sure that we find a way to both keep in place precautionary measures and be able to perform our duties as legislators in these extraordinary times.
“We will find ways to adopt the legislation at committee and plenary level in the shortest possible timeframe, and we will keep pushing for further EU action to be taken.”
Regarding the measures announced today, she said:
“We welcome this first and urgent response, but also the commitment from president Ursula von der Leyen that the Commission will do whatever it takes to help member states fight this crisis.
“The measures announced today are positive but certainly not enough. We call for a broader COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, with a consolidated and coherent strategy for the rapid mobilisation of different EU instruments, including the European Central Bank, the European Investment Fund, the European Stability Mechanism and banking union tools.
“The Commission took on board our call for the use of full flexibility in the fiscal rules. This clause will suspend the fiscal adjustment recommended by the Council and, if used in a coordinated way by all member states, can help to avoid a severe economic downturn in the EU.
“Finally, the EU will adopt measures aimed at limiting the damage to airlines. The suspension of the allocation of slots at EU airports will help the aviation industry, which is very heavily affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We must come up with a long-term plan for the whole of the travel and tourism industry, foreseeing different scenarios depending on how long the crisis might last.”