First six months of 2020: Covid-19, investment in recovery, climate
To tackle the fallout from Covid-19, Parliament has pushed for ambitious and sustainable solutions for people, the economy and the environment. Read our overview of the first half of 2020.
By far the biggest challenge of the past months was the Covid-19 pandemic. The EU responded to the outbreak with immediate emergency measures and with long-term support for the recovery.
Emergency measures against Covid-19
Parliament approved initial measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis at the end of March. The focus of the first weeks was to slow the spread of the virus, provide EU-countries with medical equipment, promote research, boost European solidarity, support the economy, protect jobs and repatriate tens of thousands of Europeans stranded around the world. Hundreds of billions of euros were made available.
Funds for vaccine and research
Parliament supported efforts to develop vaccines and effective treatments. The Commission rapidly allocated €48.25 million for 18 research projects with 151 research teams from across the EU and further funding worth hundreds of millions to develop treatments and diagnostics followed. MEPs stressed the need to ensure widespread access to affordable medicines.
Parliament working remotely
The measures to contain the pandemic forced Parliament to limit physical meetings and work remotely. MEPs were still able to exercise democratic control and approve all necessary EU measures. For the first time, Parliament introduced a system to allow MEPs to vote without being physically present in plenary. Europe Day celebrations on 9 May, which this year marked 70 years since the Schuman declaration that led to the EU being founded, were mostly held online.
Latest News from
COVID-19: Member states need to harmonise health assessments and measures18/09/2020 16:33:00
Common definitions, health criteria and methodologies are key to effectively fighting the ongoing pandemic and its economic consequences in the EU, MEPs say.
Poland: Council has to “finally act” to protect minorities and the rule of law18/09/2020 15:25:00
Disrespect for judicial independence and the rights of LGBTI persons point to “overwhelming evidence” of breaches of EU values, Parliament says.
COVID-19 vaccines: Public hearing in European Parliament18/09/2020 14:33:00
Addressing the challenges linked to securing access to safe COVID-19 vaccines will be the main topic of an online hearing on 22 September from 09.00-12.00 in the European Parliament.
Parliament requests more support for regions to make energy transition a success18/09/2020 13:25:00
MEPs are ready to start negotiations with the Council on setting up the Just Transition Fund to mitigate the social impact of greening the economy.
European Green Deal Call: €1 billion investment to boost the green and digital transition18/09/2020 12:38:00
The European Commission yesterday decided to launch a €1 billion call for research and innovation projects that respond to the climate crisis and help protect Europe's unique ecosystems and biodiversity.
EU arms exports: need for more control and transparency18/09/2020 11:33:00
EU citizens have to be better informed about their governments’ strategic choices on an issue that directly affects their security, warn MEPs.
COVID-19: EU must step up efforts to tackle medicine shortages18/09/2020 10:38:00
Parliament calls for the EU to be more self-sufficient when it comes to medicines and medical equipment so that affordable treatments are available at any time.
Parliament says shipping industry must contribute to climate neutrality18/09/2020 09:25:00
To decarbonise maritime transport, Parliament voted to include CO2 emissions from the sector in the EU Emissions Trading System.
Vote on Own Resources: MEPs clear way for COVID-19 recovery plan17/09/2020 16:33:00
MEPs accelerate the procedure that will enable the EU to borrow €750 billion for the “Next Generation EU” recovery plan.