Commissioner Lenarčič and FM Logar hail increase in solidarity
Ljubljana, 10 November - Solidarity has gained new momentum in the EU as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Slovenia's Foreign Minister and European Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič agreed on Tuesday in an online debate on the EU's response to the pandemic. They also spoke about the importance of solidarity with third countries.
"We are connected in Europe by basic values that are the cornerstone of the EU and solidarity is one of them," Lenarčič said in the discussion, organised by the STA and the European Commission Representation in Slovenia.
"And this solitary has gained new momentum with this pandemic," Lenarčič said. He argued Italy remained without help at the time of the outbreak because other countries also did not have protective equipment. Solidarity was however there and it showed during the March earthquake in Croatia, the commissioner from Slovenia added.
"The latest proof is the recovery instrument which envisages the European Commission taking out EUR 750 billion worth of loans, with solidarity then guiding the distribution of the funds," Lenarčič said.
Logar highlighted the importance of the the joint loans as well, agreeing the coronavirus crisis had given additional weight to solidarity.
Other member states showed solidarity towards Slovenia too, he said, pointing to help in the repatriation of Slovenians who got stuck abroad as the first wave began. As for the second wave, the minister noted neighbouring countries have offered free capacities to Slovenia should the numbers of Covid-19 patients become unmanageable.
Lenarčič argued it had been possible to boost the reserves of protective equipment before the second wave, while it had not been possible to do the same with regard to the staff shortages. Countries helped each other during the first wave with staff too, "but there is a problem when there are staff shortages in most or all member states", he added.
Meanwhile, the commissioner said the European Commission was also fostering solidarity with other parts of the world. It is the biggest donor in the Covax mechanism, whose aim is a fair global distribution of Covid-19 vaccination.
Logar pointed to the importance of cross-border solidarity in other fields as well, for instance migration. "Solidarity plays a very important role here," he said.
According to the minister, the EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid. That being the case, it needs to make sure that third countries develop from within and provide the young with potential so that they do no need to move to more developed countries.