Prime Minister Janez Janša: The economy is important, but this is a moment when people’s safety and health come first
An extraordinary video conference of the European Council or, more precisely, of the EU heads of state and government, including Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Janša, was held today due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The video conference was called by the European Council President Charles Michel, who stressed that key tasks include slowing down and containing the spread of the virus, providing sufficient medical and protective equipment, boosting research for vaccine development and limiting the economic fallout.
The European Commission notified the heads of the Member States that several public procurement procedures for obtaining the critical medical and protective equipment are under way. Slovenia is taking part in all of them. Significant funding will be provided to research institutions and companies doing their utmost to rapidly develop a vaccine.
Janez Janša noted that people’s safety and health should always come first in our fight against the coronavirus. “Although economic measures are extremely important as well – after all, they are the other side of the same coin in the long run – the immediate priority for all of us is people’s safety and health,” said Prime Minister Janša. He suggested that the EU immediately build up a stockpile of critical medical and protective equipment and medicine in order to provide immediate assistance to any Member State that might very soon find itself in a situation similar to that in Italy a few weeks ago.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, supported the proposal as to the centralised EU purchase and distribution of an intervention quantity of the necessary medical and protective equipment and medicine and assured that the European Union will draft the appropriate legal framework for this initiative by the end of the week.
Concerning the economic consequences of the coronavirus epidemic, the heads of the Member States considered, inter alia, the potential introduction of a European ‘corona’ bond to fund emergency measures and eliminate the consequences of the epidemic.