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Statement by Minister Helen McEntee, T.D. on the EU’s response to COVID-19

Today, on International Day of Multilateralism, Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, T.D., has commended the strong support and solidarity continuing to be demonstrated at EU level in response to COVID-19.

Following a meeting of EU Ministers this week that included the Minister and a subsequent EU Council meeting attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; the Minster has highlighted in particular some very specific measures the EU has taken to address the health and socio-economic consequences of the pandemic.

“This week, The EU issued a Roadmap for Recovery to Member States setting out actions to overcome the economic effects of the crisis, which is constantly being discussed by EU Leaders and Ministers across our Union.

 “This is a global pandemic; something that none of us have ever experienced before in our lifetime.  It is now more than ever that the EU should come to fore; helping to ensure that we react to the crisis in a cohesive way.  In doing so, that we make our citizens safe and that the EU plays its role in rebounding our economies.

 “In that vein the EU has already taken a series of measures to date including;

  • Endorsing a crisis response package of up to €500 billion, to be operational from the 1st June 2020.
  • Developing a potential EU recovery fund of scale; that would be linked to the EU Budget with proposals to be made to member states by 06th May.
  • Providing guidelines for border management to protect citizens and preserve the integrity of the single market.
  • Creating ‘Green Lanes’ to remove border blockages to keep supply chains open.
  • Helping to repatriate citizens across the globe back to the EU; including 5,000 Irish citizens.
  • Approving two State Aid packages for Ireland, worth €200 million for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • Supporting farmers and fishermen by approving State Aid measures and extending deadline for CAP payment applications.
  • Providing support for COVID-19 vaccine development and dissemination and medical research, including for Irish company Hibergene, which will develop and validate a rapid molecular diagnostic test for the coronavirus.
  • Securing more than €15 billion to help partners worldwide in the global fight against COVID-19.
  • Publishing a joint roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

“Having continuous interaction and engagement with my fellow EU colleagues has allowed me to hear how some countries are beginning the process of gradually easing their COVID-19 containment measures.

 “It is important that we in Ireland learn from the experience of those who are ahead of us on the curve so that we do not move too fast in easing restrictions and suffer a set-back.

 “It is clear from speaking with my European Affairs colleagues that we all value the leadership and solidarity of the EU and its institutions. There are, of course, challenges but I look forward to the EU’s continued cooperation and solidarity as we work together through this crisis.

ENDS

PRESS OFFICE

24 APRIL 2020

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