"The European institutions are not failing: solidarity between European governments is failing, the Europeanism of national leaders is failing"
The vice president of the Group of the European People's Party (PPE), Esteban González Pons, said today that Spain is living “hell” due to the coronavirus and has asked the 27 governments of the EU countries for more solidarity to face this serious problem together crisis.
“In Spain, with less than 50 million inhabitants, we have more deaths than in China, which has more than 1,000 million inhabitants. In my country, more than 5,000 doctors, nurses, auxiliaries and ambulance personnel have been infected, and many hospitals are overwhelmed, coronavirus patients die alone, without a family member who closes their eyes, and they bury themselves, "he explained. during a debate in the plenary session of the European Parliament in which he spoke on behalf of the PPE Group – the majority of this chamber – and in which the President of the European Commission, Úrsula Von der Leyen, also participated.
González Pons added that in addition to Spain, the virus is being primed especially with Italy and France, but "we do not know if it will spread the same way in other European countries and when, and we do not know if it will return in the autumn and where, We do not know if it will explode in Africa, the Middle East or Russia and what consequences it will have for us then. ”
For all these reasons, he insisted on the need for greater collaboration and solidarity among the EU countries: "the solidarity that we give today is the one that we will receive tomorrow, that's what Europeans will be".
“The European institutions are not failing, the solidarity between the European governments is failing; the EU does not fail, the Europeanism of European national leaders fails, "he explained.
In this sense, González Pons regretted that “faced with a single problem, the EU states have given 27 different responses, more than 50 if they take into account the regions with competencies in health, as if the virus stopped in every border".
"While the World Health Organization (WHO) has treated the virus for what it is, a pandemic, a globally contagious disease, European governments continue to treat it as if it were 27 national infections, or even regional infections "He regretted.
"It is not a war, it is an epidemic. Doctors do not ask us for nicking the value, they ask us for a health budget; They do not ask us for speeches of blood, sweat and tears, but simpler things such as mercy and masks, dignity and respirators, consolation and testing for the virus, ”and faced with this situation, he asked himself: Can't we really share that among Europeans? Are we Europeans really not going to help each other when the disease passes? ”
"The European Commission is doing everything that its powers allow it, and no government has asked the Commission to do anything more than what its powers allow it," stressed the vice president of popular Europeans, who welcomed the measures taken so far by the Commission and which today will be voted on and predictably approved by the European Parliament.
But it has also pointed out that, in the short term, it is necessary to unblock all the resources of the health industry to fight the virus, guarantee the free movement of products and medicines across Europe's internal borders; guarantee pensions and wages so that no one is left behind; and ensure the proper functioning of key infrastructures, both physical and digital.
In the long term, González Pons has advocated relaunching the production of medical equipment in the EU, investing more in medical research to combat diseases and facing the economic impact of the crisis so that the European economies can survive it: “Our workers, SMEs, fishermen, farmers must survive this crisis ”.
González Pons also recalled that the virus is attacking Europe's parents' generation the most, “the generation that was born in the postwar period, the generation that built the European economy, that generalized public health and public education, the generation that it gave back democracy to Spain, Portugal, Greece, the one that knocked down the Berlin Wall, the generation that renounced the franc and the framework in favor of the euro ”.
Therefore, he said, "the least they deserve is that we show them that Europe is there when they need it most."
He has also asked that the European Parliament be "that of the Europe that, despite being confined, speaks the same language from balcony to balcony, and not that of that other Europe that despite having translators does not know how to understand itself."
"This Parliament should not close during the crisis because Parliament is the house of hope," he recalled.