Anne Demelenne: Pandemic demonstrates our system's fragility

My husband and I have very calmly spent the lockdown at home. My husband is part of the high-risk group and we have taken every precaution.

Right from the start of the pandemic, we have worn masks and gloves and have always kept the correct distance. We wanted to avoid taking major risks and also protect the public interest and the interests of healthcare staff and workers on the front line.

It's clear that, in Belgium, we were not prepared. There has been a lack of transparency, which will need to be investigated later, but also a shortage of masks, tests for the public, and so on. I don't know what has been happening in other countries – we only know what the media publish – but in Belgium, the situation has been particularly bad in care homes. Once the crisis is over, parliamentary inquiries will need to be held to identify the source of the problem.

Civil society continues to have a key role to play during the pandemic by making sure democracy is preserved. At operational level, people in Belgium who have lost their jobs are temporarily unemployed under a benefit system that was already weakened due to the austerity measures imposed by the EU. During the crisis, we have seen solidarity between people but not between EU Member States.

The pandemic has demonstrated our system's fragility. We need to consider this an opportunity to move towards a system that better respects human beings, social rights and the environment.