President of the Republic of Lithuania

The President: the EU needs to be determined now

2020-03-27

During a video conference of the European Council, President Gitanas Nausėda said that EU must strengthen its coordination efforts to stop the spread of the virus and ensure the protection of people‘s health.

The EU leaders agreed on current five key priorities: prevention of the spread of the virus, acquisition of medical equipment, tackling of social and economic consequences, return of the EU citizens to their home countries and development of vaccine and antiviral drugs.

“We see EU-wide efforts to address the emerging problems in a coordinated manner however we must seek even greater and more rapid coordination. We must urgently secure reliable suuply of medical equipment and reagents to health care institutions. Joint procurement process is too slow and there are delays of supply. It is obvious that EU needs to be determined now and not at some point in the future”, said the President.

The President suggested the EU leaders to mobilize and leverage member states’ achievements in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in order to take the lead in development of coronavirus vaccine. “Having such a pool of innovation, technology and talent we must be more active in the development of vaccine”, stressed the President.

The video conference also focused on management of economic and social consequences. The President urged the EU leaders to concentrate on drafting a solid financial package to tackle both long-term and short-term economic and social problems and be prepared to adopt additional measures.

According to the President, important decisions have been taken to leverage the borrowing facilities of the European Stability Mechanism, make maximum use of the flexibility of the Stability and Growth Pact, apply relaxed state aid rules, use the new Coronavirus Investment Initiative, therefore it was now important to consolidate our efforts on implementation of these initiatives. The President also reminded that crisis management plan was only one side of the coin and preparations had to be made to address economic, social, environmental, education and other challenges after the crisis.

The EU leaders welcomed the initiative to open Green Corridors at the internal borders of EU member states to ensure uninterrupted supply of goods and functioning of the single market.

The President emphasized that the greatest challenge in repatriation of EU citizens was related to their return from the third countries. Greater involvement of the External Action Service as well as EU delegations in the third countries was expected to resolve the issue.

The EU leaders agreed that the risk of disinformation at this difficult time was growing and they needed to assess the vulnerability of information systems and consolidate efforts to fight the spread of fake news. It is essential to provide the public with clear and truthful information about EU decisions and progress in their implementation. 

The President‘s Communication Group

Last updated 2020.03.27 00:15

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