Making Europe safe must be priority number one for the future of the EU after the COVID-19 pandemic. In a joint webinar with the Italian National Council for Economics and Labour (CNEL) on 15 May 2020, EESC President Luca Jahier called for a common EU health policy.
The EU must take action on two fronts, he said, on the one hand investing more in growth and support for an environmentally and technologically just transition and, on the other, ensuring a greater presence on the international scene.
Luca Jahier discussed the right policy choices to be made to future-proof the next generations, with Romano Prodi, former Italian prime minister and Commission President, Emma Bonino, senator and former EU commissioner, and Tiziano Treu, president of the Italian National Council for Economics and Labour (CNEL).
Mr Prodi highlighted the need for an EU health policy, arguing that a real EU global policy was a prerequisite for this, and that there would be no solidarity without political balance within the Union.
On the same page was Ms Bonino, who stressed that the idea of a common EU health policy was not new, but had already been advocated by Robert Schuman and Altiero Spinelli, and pointed to the need to improve globalisation and make it more balanced.
Mr Treu emphasised that Europe should not aim to rebuild the same system as before in terms of companies and services, but instead focus on green investments in strategic sectors, and on meeting the challenges of new technologies, which may be risky but were also an opportunity to make the transition in our economy.
Concluding on an optimistic note, Mr Jahier put forward the idea of a joint strategy between the EU and the Member States to tackle the challenges of tomorrow's Europe: "At the end of this pandemic, there will be more public and private debt, there may be social tensions, people will feel insecure. There will be a boomerang effect for Europe, unless we stay united. We need a strategy to face this change or there will be a division marking Europe forever. Together we can, together we will do it." (mp)