Seventy-one lawmakers from key political groups in the European Parliament have called on EU member states and the Commission to end fragmentation and improve coordination in order to better address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter, MEPs stressed that EU citizens have already paid a high price for the lack of coordination between member states and this should not be repeated now with the resurgence of the pandemic.
This summer, we have witnessed, powerless, chaos at the EU ‘s internal borders: unilateral decisions to control or restrict borders, based on various maps and contested evidence results from one country to another, the letter said. open.
Yesterday tourists, tomorrow workers (cross-border and seasonal workers), students, artists This disorganization will not only have health consequences but also consequences in the economic, scientific and cultural life in Europe, said the MEPs.
They added that freedom of movement within the Schengen area, the EU’s borderless area, should not be constantly threatened without any coordination and, above all, without any proper justification.
The COVID-19 crisis should not become an excuse for any kind of national selfishness, MEPs said.
EU lawmakers called for a common methodology for collecting health data and qualifying the risk map with common color codes.
The EU should join the usual review strategies and harmonize epidemiological monitoring, MEPs said. Right now, EU countries use different screening methods and different quarantine rules, while COVID tracking and tracing approaches also vary across the bloc.
Vronique Trillet-Lenoir, an MEP from Europe’s central renewal, told EURACTIV that this is a matter of political will.
EU member states must discuss and reach agreement on joint sanitary measures in Schengen  they also need to ensure that freedom of movement, both for people and for goods, within Schengen, she added.
The French MP also warned of a tougher economic impact in case of inaction.
It is not a question of money, but of being able to discuss  I see clearly that at least between France and Germany, it has already begun, she stressed.
Risk of not coordinating
Peter Liese, a German MEP from the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), said mistakes from the start of the pandemic should not be repeated and coordination on health issues should be a priority.
Member states were unwilling to accept it in the past  but I am very optimistic that member states will change their position now, he told EURACTIV.
He warned that if measures are not coordinated, people are less likely to follow them, which in itself poses a health threat.
I really oppose the approach of Hungary, which closed the border to all European countries except the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, even though the Czech Republic is one of the hotspots for COVID-19 at the moment.
Many other European countries, where the border is closed, have lower figures. Not only in relation to the pandemic, but also in general, Europe needs to cooperate more on health. We have a legal basis, “said Liese.
He also said that the German EU presidency, as well as the European Parliament, supports a proposal on strengthening the EU institution to fight infectious diseases, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
At the moment, the ECDC is not allowed to make recommendations, and they are entirely staffed. That must change! I share this view not only with the Commission and the overwhelming majority in Parliament, but also with the German Presidency.
We should use this opportunity to cooperate much more whenever member states are unable to address a problem. This also applies to the fight against cancer, concluded Liese.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]
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