Source: European Commission Spokesperson's Service
The full speech is available online in English, French and German.
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In the 70 years since the Schuman Declaration, Europe has been no stranger to crises and challenges. In many ways, Europe's motto has always been not only ‘united in diversity' but also ‘united in adversity'. And today, in this time of adversity, and in response to this crisis, Europe, more than ever, needs unity, determination and ambition.
And it is in this spirit that the Commission is working on an ambitious recovery plan for Europe - as you called for in your resolution today.
We all know why we need to act. And over these last few weeks, you have often heard me talk about what Europe must do. Today I want to talk to you about how it will do it.
I want to set out for you the structure and the main features of the ambitious recovery plan for Europe that we are working on. But to do that, we first need to fully understand the anatomy of this very particular crisis.
We have had economic slowdowns before but we have never had an economic shutdown like in the last three months. Our economies have been on hold. The supply chains have been disrupted and demand has collapsed. And the truth is that we will not just go back to business as usual soon.
Our economies and societies will open slowly, cautiously and gradually. While schools stay shut, most parents will have to continue home-office. And while social distancing measures rightly stay in place, businesses will have to rethink their workplace and way of working.
In other words: we will recover but it will take time.
The virus is the same in every Member State, but the capacity to respond and absorb the shock is very different. For instance, countries and regions with economies that are built on client facing services – such as tourism or culture – have suffered way more.
We should also not forget that those who were hit first by the virus were often hit the hardest. Because it was the painful experience and the full transparency of Italy and Spain in dealing with the pandemic - that helped others to brace themselves for the impact.
Every Member State has supported workers and companies as best as possible – in large part thanks to the European Level being fast and forceful: We triggered the general escape clause and we gave full flexibility on EU fund and state aid rules. But: it's also true that each MS has a different fiscal space - so the use of state aid is very different.
What we start to observe now is an unlevelling of the playing field in our Single Market.
Therefore, in response, we need to support those, that need it the most, we have to push for investment and reform,
And we have to strengthen our economies by focusing on our common priorities, like the European Green Deal, digitalisation and Resilience. And because it is a European recovery focusing on European priorities, it is essential that the European Parliament plays its full role. For me, it goes without saying that this Parliament must provide the democratic accountability - and have its say on the entire recovery package – just as it does on the EU budget.
And that's where we start today.