EU leaders discuss joint efforts to fight COVID-19
At their informal videoconference on 19 November, the members of the European Council discussed COVID-19 testing, vaccination and measures to prevent a new wave of the disease during the holiday season at the turn of the year. Finland emphasised the need for a common strategy.
At the beginning of the meeting, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, which currently holds the EU Council Presidency, reported on the state of play regarding the EU’s multiannual financial framework and the recovery fund, but there was no further debate on the matter. The major recovery package aims to support EU economies in recovering from the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Finland’s view, it is important for the work to proceed in line with what the EU leaders agreed in July.
“Finland considers it important to remain closely in line with the conclusions of the July European Council and to ensure that the key elements of the recovery instrument are not separated from one another. Creating a rule of law mechanism that functions as effectively as possible is an essential part of the recovery package,” said Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
During the video meeting, Finland expressed support for the European Commission’s 18 November recommendation on the use of rapid antigen tests to diagnose the disease and for the mutual recognition of test results among the Member States.
The EU leaders were briefed on the current situation with regard to the procurement and distribution of vaccines. The meeting highlighted the increasing need for Member States to share information with one another in order to support research and development.
The EU leaders have also focused on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in their previous meetings. Joint EU actions were widely discussed at the European Council on 15 October in Brussels and in the videoconference on 29 October.
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