President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has called on the EU member states to cooperate better to fight the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
In recent weeks, there has been little sign of European unity, but that does not make sense, according to Von der Leyen. "Only by helping others can we help ourselves. No member state can handle this alone," she said.
As countries closed their borders and kept medical equipment from each other in recent weeks, and Belgium said on Thursday morning that it would not take coronavirus patients from abroad, Von der Leyen criticised the lack of "all for one-spirit" of many countries, and urged everyone to "end selfishness."
"When Europe really needed to prove that this is not only a fair-weather union, too many initially refused to share their umbrella," she said.
While we may be sitting further apart than usual, we must work closer together than ever before.President @vonderleyen speaking at the European Parliament. Watch live ↓ #Coronavirus #EPlenaryhttps://t.co/AOGkrJLJB7 — European Commission ?? (@EU_Commission) March 26, 2020
"There is not one single member state that can meet its own needs when it comes to vital medical supplies and equipment," Von der Leyen said. "Free movement of goods and services is our strongest and, frankly, our only asset to ensure supplies can go where the needed most," she added.
Recently, the Commission issued border control guidelines, to make sure that both the flow of goods and people can continue throughout Europe. Additionally, it urged member states to create 'fast lanes' at borders, to prevent trucks from having to wait longer than 15 minutes.
The Brussels Times