Emerging stronger from the pandemic: acting on the early lessons learnt

EESC opinion: Emerging stronger from the pandemic: acting on the early lessons learnt

Key points

  • welcomes the move by the European Union and its institutions to continuously assess processes during the pandemic, but regrets that it among the ten lessons learnt, there is only a brief mention of the "uneven impact of the crisis, with vulnerable groups and small and medium companies amongst the hardest hit".
  • commends the European Union's plans to establish a framework for an EU pandemic state of emergency and standards for a crisis response and calls for a high degree of coordination and transparency in all procedures, especially when there is a need for swift action and decision-making by public administrations at European and Member State level.
  • notes that programmes are needed to ensure access to preventive and rehabilitative care, even during a health crisis. Therefore emergency pandemic provisions in the future should be scaled in such a way as to affect the functioning of primary care to avoid greater loss of health in such situations in society.
  • believes that the EU should continue to respond to the crisis in a consistent and global manner, in particular through COVAX and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as well as new candidate drugs and therapies, and to strengthen and support the global health security architecture. This includes strengthening the EU's role in the World Health Organization.
  • feels that social policy systems should be made more inclusive to help those who are marginalised and living in particularly distressed situations.
  • supports measures on EU and MS level fostering cooperation between health systems in respect of EU-values like dignity and fair competition and aiming at upward convergence of health and social systems.
  • underlines that it is important to move from emergency measures to productive investments for an inclusive and sustainable recovery in the medium and long term; also in order to avoid the danger that fiscal and monetary policies could be subject to high inflationary risks that may lead to a stagflation.
  • welcomes the European Commission's efforts to support national media literacy campaigns in cooperation with the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) and with the Media Literacy Expert Group, thus further contributing to the fight against disinformation including anti-vaccination disinformation that causes unfounded fears and serious harm.
  • supports efforts to enhance international cooperation and build Europe's strength in international institutions. It points out that any weakening of Europe's position and involvement in international organisations creates scope for other countries outside the EU to act in a way that is unfavourable to the values the European Union stands for.