· The protection of the most vulnerable must be the priority at this time. It is crucial that the EU coordinates the critical preparedness, readiness and response actions of Member States. The EU must assist Member State governments to pool best practices and support those groups and people who are socially isolated, those with certain pre-existing medical conditions, the homeless, the elderly, and those, such as the Romani (the largest ethinic minority of the EU) who are marginalised or suffering from discrimination and inequalities in access to health care and detainees. Continued provision of personal assistance and care for persons with disabilities must be guaranteed.
· Targeted measures must be taken to protect the homeless and to provide financial assistance to those NGOs and local authorities providing frontline assistance.
· The Commission and governments must ensure that health-related information and general public safety-related information is presented in a clear and simple manner, including in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities.
· We must not forget vulnerable people, including refugees and asylum seekers trapped in appalling conditions at the EU’s borders who should be immediately relocated to safe places in EU Member States where they too can access healthcare, irrespective of their residence status.
· The EU and its Member States must use every financial instrument available to support the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs or income across Europe because of this crisis.
· For those able to work from home, as well as children and students who need to study and others who have to isolate themselves, the Commission should ensure that Member States implement current telecom rules that require everyone to have access to an affordable and adequate broadband internet service.
· Policies implemented to combat this health emergency must include a gender and child protection perspective focused on areas where women and children are disproportionally impacted to the coronavirus outbreak. In particular, services for victims of violence must remain open and available. Reports on gender based violence must not be considered less important or disregarded during this time. Special measures should include the reinforcing of helpline services, the organising of networks of support and a public information campaign overseen by Commission to inform victims and witnesses to domestic violence about their rights.
· EU solidarity must not stop at EU borders. A continent as rich and developed as ours should lead by example in helping other countries face COVID-19 with the necessary humanitarian aid and the best medical resources. The EU must strive to be a leader in international solidarity.
· The EU must ensure maximum collaboration with the WHO and other international bodies to develop an effective medical response (research co-operation for vaccines etc) and to share that research.
· Any restriction on fundamental rights to fight the COVID-19 outbreak must be as limited as possible in its duration, and in any case effective, necessary and proportionate. The crisis cannot be used as a pretext for destroying democratic checks and balances. Governments should remain accountable, and extraordinary powers must be applied in good faith.
· We welcome and support the statement issued by the European Data Protection Board with regard to processing of personal data. While anonymised and aggregated data, including from mobile phone networks, might be useful for assessing the effectiveness of distancing measures, we reject any individualised tracking based on this data, since it is too diffuse anyway to locate and trace contacts. Instead, testing facilities have to massively enhanced, including through EU-wide coordination. It is paramount, that democratic, parliamentary oversight and a clearly defined expiration period is set out for these emergency measures and that they are dismantled gradually with an improvement or solving of the COVID-19 crisis.
· The EU must act against attempts to misuse the Corona emergency to curtail democracy and silence critics of authoritarian governments. Viktor Orban’s emergency bill to govern by decree, merely inform, not any more consult parliament and impose chilling punishment on the spread of what government considers fake news is inacceptable. We call on the EU Commission to call out this authoritarian attack on Hungarian democracy for what it is, as Commission defended democracy in Poland and Romania against inacceptable draft laws before.
· Actions by governments and the Commission must remain under strict public and parliamentary scrutiny, also to guarantee they are respected as legitimate. Therefore, parliaments need to find ways to remain operational while being exemplary in living anti-corona safety recommendations. The European Parliament shows how digital work and voting in urgent cases can reconcile European democracy with the emergency imposed by the virus.