COVID-19 Tech

Europe wants to pool its responses to epidemics

Several Heads of State, including Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel, urge the Commission to draw lessons from the shortcomings and errors noted when the Covid-19 arrived.

The threat of a second wave of the coronavirus and of a new pandemic forces the European Union to learn lessons and learn from its mistakes, in order to be ” better prepared ” in the future. This is the message of the letter sent to the President of the European Commission by Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and their Polish, Spanish, Belgian and Danish counterparts.

Shortage of ventilators, masks and medicines, medical equipment blocked at the borders and competition between Europeans to buy from China… These chaotic scenes which followed the uncoordinated decisions of the Twenty-Seven, as well as the “ heavy toll ” in lives and the slowdown economic, have ” raised questions ” on the preparation of Europe, write the signatories diplomatically. They stress the ” need for a common European approach “.

For France and Germany, ” it’s a kind of mea culpa ” while the two countries closed their borders and banned the export of critical products at the height of the crisis, analyzes Eric Maurice, of the Schuman Foundation.

At the heart of the proposals is the idea of ​​providing the Union with a real strategy for having medicines, vaccines and medical equipment. Logically, the need to develop European research capacities, in particular for the development of vaccines, is highlighted. But the reflection goes further. There is a demand for harmonization of analysis tools and information exchange so as not to be surprised in the event of an epidemic.

This crisis has developed “the feeling of a need for strategic integration at European level”

The signatories also propose that the Twenty-Seven work together on an ” efficient division of labour” to produce and store, in Europe, all critical supplies. This involves strengthening the single market and European industrial policy, in particular, to make certain solutions adopted urgently, relating to competition and grouped markets, more sustainable. A proposal which, for Eric Maurice, shows that this crisis has developed ” the feeling of a need for strategic integration at European level “.

The letter is welcome, says Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer. ” We share his analysis and his ideas .” In fact, much of what is proposed has ” already been done “, and a vaccine strategy will be studied by the Commission next week. Overall, the issues raised in the letter are addressed in the recovery plan of 750 billion euros and the future European budget for 2021-2027, proposed by the European Commission.

If it will not cause a change of gear, the missive is not in vain. Addressed to the Commission, it claims, in particular, to encourage it to ” draw the ears to the Member States “, and their individualistic reflexes notes a diplomat. A week before the European summit where the divisions on the economic recovery plan will again appear, the message is clear: we must build a European solution to avoid everyone for either the next time.

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