The COVID-19 pandemic has been part of the world’s daily life since the beginning of 2020. A crisis as serious as it is unprecedented, paralyzing whole sections of the economy and confining countries. This situation is all the more critical because Europe is the continent on which this pandemic strikes the most. For example, France, a large part of the United Kingdom, but also Belgium and Greece have adopted confinement. Containment to deal with a situation that is intensifying by the day. On the occasion of the European Week of Regions and Cities, presented in hybrid format, EU countries are in particular talking about this current aspect of daily life.
Pandemic, environment… Central topics for the European Union
Major events such as the European Week of Regions and Cities promote EU-specific values. Values that also focus on cohesion and unity within countries. Thus, through the exchanges, participants seek solutions to common challenges. Among them, central and current problems such as the health situation,or climate change. These are central issues, at a time when the Paris Agreement or COP21 are fighting global warming. It is clear that today, many regions and cities do not yet feel sufficiently involved in decision-making. Indeed, 67% want to have more impact in the exchanges, to contribute with their perspective on collective decisions.
The episode of the COVID-19 pandemic puts this issue even more at the heart of the debates. It affects all countries without exception, and reduces incomes by almost 90% of the regions of the European Union. This is a particularly delicate situation, especially as Europe is being scrutinized by the rest of the world. It is the most active focus of the pandemic. France is the most affected by the number of contaminations. More than 1.6 million people are infected, out of the 8 million in Europe at the beginning of November. In the face of the changing challenges, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, wants to rethink the workings of European democracy. This is in order to better connect it to the inhabitants of the different territories. Thus, this collective effort will ultimately lead to sustainable solutions for all.
A common struggle to defeat COVID-19
The European Union also focuses on solidarity between member states, especially in this time of unprecedented pandemic. The “first wave” that arrived around March for all countries demonstrated this support between countries. Especially given the health situation and the influx of patients in need of immediate care. France was thus able to count on the support of Germany during the months of April and May. Saturated hospital and resuscitation services could no longer accommodate new patients. And the main challenge of each region is to ensure the health of its inhabitants. For example, Germany has welcomed French patients in a serious condition into its own wards. A demonstration of solidarity that saved the lives of people affected by this pandemic.
In this time of pandemic, where all countries and populations are affected… It is time for discussion and consultation to find solutions to protect people. This unprecedented event thus encourages a rethinking of a whole operation, which will then take into account the obstacles encountered and the solutions to be put in place more widely… By giving even more weight to the regions to collectively fight the pandemic.
The fight against COVID-19 at thee centre of the 18th European Week of the Regions – Press release – EU Regions Week – 26 October 2020