March 13, 2020 – Statement of European Parliament President David Sassoli on COVID-19 response

“Not since the end of the Second World War have we faced such a dramatic crisis. Today the European Union is taking action. We had no doubt that it would.

This situation is so serious that no European government could think of responding alone. The package of measures put forward by the European Commission today to fight COVID-19 go in the right direction.

All European countries will receive support for their health systems. This means the supply of materials, support to hospitals, and financing research to develop a vaccine as soon as possible. The first priority is saving human lives.

The other commitment is to protect jobs, businesses and the economy. To do this: enough with austerity. Countries are authorized to spend everything that is necessary to guarantee support for employees, self-employed workers, businesses, and banks. In addition to the commitments made by member states, at least 37 billion euros is ready and available from the Union budget.

It is important to emphasize that governments will be able to use all the flexibility provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact, and that state aid will be allowed for sectors and businesses affected by the crisis.

Now the Council and Parliament must approve these first proposals. I can assure you that Parliament will do this as soon as possible.

To save our countries, we must act together in Europe. We should do more.

Today the watchword for Europe is solidarity. No one will be left alone and no one will act alone.”