Roberta Metsola calls for urgent EU measures to tackle coronavirus impact

PN MP Robert Metsola says EU needs multi-pronged approach to deal with Covid-19 by prioritising safeguarding of people’s health

PN MEP Roberta Metsola
PN MEP Roberta Metsola

Nationalist Party MP Roberta Metsola has called for the EU to adopt a multi-pronged approach to deal with the coronavirus, with the protection of people’s health being placed at the forefront.

Metsola said coordinated action was needed to make sure Europe’s healthcare systems had all the needed resources to cope with the increased burden.

“The EU’s response to the coronavirus is rightly top of its agenda, and we need coordinated action to ensure that European healthcare systems have all the resources they require to deal with the increased pressure. European Union solidarity mechanisms and funding must be made immediately available to the worst affected regions. We have to work together,” Metsola said.

“We cannot allow scaremongering to cloud our judgement but we must be responsible. Disease knows no borders and we need to make sure European rules can respond to both the immediate health concerns and the impact on our economies and people’s livelihoods,” she said.

The Head of the PN Delegation said that “we must be flexible enough to ensure that employers, employees, people working in the gig economy and, crucially, the self-employed can continue to work while minimising the risk to their health and that those unable to work, or who see a disproportionate impact, are supported. All options for tele-working need to be supported.”

Metsola said that many businesses, big, small or micro - in Malta, Gozo and across Europe - will face difficulties because of the outbreak, highlighting that it must be ensured that such businesses have access to emergency funds to recover, and to recover quickly.

“The impact on the economy will be more acutely felt in smaller tourism-dependent states like Malta and Gozo. We want a European stimulus package, increased EIB-supported loan facilities to support our economies and the political understanding that member states must be able to have the flexibility to adapt State aid rules, for a limited period of time, to support pillars of our economy and those businesses who need it the most.”

The MEP also called for an EU-wide information campaign to fight disinformation and panic and to ensure citizens follow health authorities advice on how to minimise exposure and self-quarantine guidelines in an effort to stem the growth of the virus.

“It is especially important that information reaches people with a disability - through the use of sign-language or subtitles on television for example - by the relevant authorities. We can beat this if we work together and everyone takes their responsibilities seriously,” she added.