Open Letter to the European Council

Open Letter to the European Council

4/22/2020, 5:00:00 AM
The current pandemic has brought us together as European citizens. Healthcare staff and key workers throughout Europe have...
Valerie Sternberg, Co-President of Volt Europa
YouTube: Volt's Open Letter to European Heads of State

Dear Mr President of the European Council,

The current pandemic has brought us together as European citizens. Healthcare staff and key workers throughout Europe have stepped up to this monumental task and people across Europe applaud them outside their windows in daily recognition of their work. Countries offer up hospital beds to help treat the most vulnerable, irrespective of nationality - Europe’s citizens are united in solidarity.

We represent Volt, the only pan-European political party in the European Parliament, with voters and volunteers all over Europe. We write to you ahead of your meeting on 23 April because the European measures currently proposed fail to address the virus’s profound long-term impact. The debt incurred today to help citizens and businesses through the lockdown will significantly impair governments’ ability to invest in growth, jobs and shock resilience tomorrow. If Europe’s leaders fail to address this crisis adequately and together, we fear the eventual disintegration of the EU, a project of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

Coronabonds are urgently needed. The suggested lowered conditionalities for ESM funding are a first step to support governments in delivering out-of-work benefits alongside cash grants for households, firms and the self-employed. However, the ESM can only be a short-term fix - we must also invest in recovering from the crisis, a fiscal burden that must be shared by all EU countries. Thus, the next EU budget must fund a stimulus package of at least €1 trillion in additional money to help governments invest in jobs and the shock resilience of their economies and societies.

Europe needs a “New Deal”. Coming out of this crisis, we must set Europe on a path towards a fairer, more sustainable future. To achieve this, we need to plot a common course to the circular economy and the future of work. We urge you to invest in the sustainable and digital infrastructures as well as Europe-wide social care programs.

For this, we need a European Treasury. It would be the first step towards a democratically legitimate fiscal union, led by a finance minister that is held accountable by the European Parliament, acting in the interests of all European citizens. The Conference on the Future of Europe is an ideal opportunity to kickstart this sorely needed debate on fundamental EU reform.

Beyond the financial package, we need a coordinated exit plan, as reopening the economy without a common strategy risks causing a devastating second disease wave. We implore you - the European Council - to demonstrate the solidarity called for by citizens. Go beyond healthcare and fiscal policies, and let a visionary recovery plan lay the foundations for more European integration. Human lives depend on our unity.

Valerie Sternberg & Reinier van LanschotーCo-Presidents
Volt Europa Damian BoeselagerーMEP, Volt Deutschland
The Board of DirectorsーVolt Europa