European Council on the COVID-19 pandemic: “EU protects its citizens”
At their videoconference on Thursday 26 March, the Members of the European Council noted that combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and protecting the EU citizens requires urgent, decisive, and comprehensive action at the EU, national, regional and local levels. The EU leaders expressed their deepest sympathy with the victims of the pandemic and their families and praised the sense of responsibility of the citizens and the dedication of healthcare professionals in their work.
In their discussion, the EU leaders stated that the temporary restrictions imposed at the internal and external borders have been necessary to slow down the spread of the virus. Collaborative efforts will be made to ensure that these measures do not affect the movement of goods into the EU and between its Member States.
“The health and wellbeing of our citizens depends of the functioning of the single market of the EU. In particular, we must make sure that food, medicines and other essential goods reach their destination as fast as possible in all parts of the EU,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin said at the videoconference.
The Member States will also collaborate to make sure that the EU citizens stranded in third countries will be able to return home, and to ensure adequate provision of medicines and medical equipment throughout the EU. The EU leaders requested the European Commission to speed up the joint procurement initiatives for medical equipment and to provide an overview of the stocks.
The EU leaders expressed their support to the actions by the European Central Bank, Member States, Eurogroup and European Commission to minimise the adverse impacts of the pandemic on the economy and to safeguard jobs. The Eurogroup will continue its work to deliver a comprehensive response to the economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Inquiries: Jari Luoto, State Under-Secretary for European Affairs, tel. +358 50 468 5949, Matti Niemi, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 45 679 1717