Extracts of speech by European Parliament President David Sassoli to the 26 March European Council
During his speech to the European Council, European Parliament President David Sassoli stressed the need for a comprehensive and unified plan to relaunch the European economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Sassoli said:
“We must prove to our citizens that the European Union is the answer to this emergency and the further crisis which will follow. We need to learn from the courage and determination of all those - doctors, health professionals, volunteers, workers of essential services - who are at the forefront of saving the lives of our citizens and protecting our society. We must focus first on health, encouraging solidarity and ensuring resources are available where they are needed.
“We already know that the COVID-19 outbreak will also trigger an unprecedented contraction in the European economy, at a time when it was already suffering from low growth and excessively low inflation. We cannot afford that the serious health crisis we are now experiencing will develop into a financial, social and political crisis.
“The EU institutions have already taken significant measures: the package from the European Commission, the decision to suspend the Stability and Growth Pact; the promise by the ECB to do whatever it takes to maintain normal financing conditions; and steps by the Commission to protect the internal market. However, extraordinary situations call for equally extraordinary responses. We believe, together with many of you, that we need to work on a common debt mechanism, issued by a European institution, which will enable us to raise funds on the market on the basis of the same terms for all and to finance the policies needed to relaunch the Union after this pandemic.
“We must not make the mistakes of 2008. We should take the opportunity to modernise our economy, making it greener and more inclusive. We should also take this opportunity to modernise and harmonise our social model. We are able to take the fight to the coronavirus thanks to our world class health systems, let’s recognise that.
“Today, 687 members in the European Parliament voted to adopt the measures proposed by the European Commission. Parliament will remain open and ready to vote on whatever measures are needed. This moment is serious, we will not stand and watch. We are ready to cooperate and expect the European Council to act with the same responsibility.”
The full speech is available here.