Merkel wants EU to increase cooperation to prepare for next pandemic
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Merkel wants EU to increase cooperation to prepare for next pandemic

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The European Union should increase its cooperation to recover from Covid-19 and to prepare for future pandemics, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a debate on Tuesday.

“Despite our efforts, we are struggling today to provide basic services to our people during the pandemic,” President of the European Committee of the Regions Apostolos Tzitzikostas said during the opening speech of the debate on Germany’s presidency of the European Council.

Chancellor Merkel emphasised the need for increased cooperation for the EU in order to become “less susceptible to crises like the current pandemic”.

One part of the increased cooperation would be to strengthen the internal market of the EU. The economic cooperation between Member States has made the EU’s economy less vulnerable to the impact of corona on international trade.

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“This crisis has been a challenge for a Europe without borders,” Merkel said. “It’s so important that we make a package to address the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.”

“We need cooperation to overcome these challenges.”

Several Members of the European Parliament that attended the debate called on the European Council and the European Parliament to come to an agreement on the EU budget as soon as possible, which will unlock €750 billion for the corona recovery fund.

The approval of the budget was scheduled for July, but the institutions disagree on the size of the budget and the allocation of the funds and have been in negotiations since.

On Wednesday, the Council and the Parliament will re-enter negotiations after the European Parliament walked out last week.

On Tuesday, the European Committee of the Regions handed in a proposal for a reinforced EU Civil Protection Mechanism, which would serve to “tackle future pandemics” by increasing cooperation on all levels within the EU similar to Merkel’s proposal.

 

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times