If the Covid-19 pandemic has shown me anything, then it is the lack of actual European solidarity. Italy and Spain suffered the most, yet help arrived very late.
For me personally it was extremely frustrating, since I couldn’t do anything besides contacting my representatives in the European Parliament and write a Citizen’s enquiry to the European Parliament directly (I show the response in this article as well).
So, I sat there one night and didn’t know what else I could do. Then, I’ve suddenly got an idea: a stronger healthcare system, but one that provides service to all European countries. Since nature catastrophes and pandemics will continue to occur, the best we can do is to be well-prepared and ready to act as soon as they occur in a country.
Even during times which are not plagued by a crisis, there’s still need for it (e.g. nursing staff who care for the elderly). My idea, for this political endeavour, is now what I present to you. Of course, it needs more time to mature, and it is far from being fully implementable, but it is a beginning – or, at least I hope it is.
Here’s what I noted in my word document (including the visualizing), word for word:
„In order to provide everyone in Europe with best quality healthcare, a high-speed train connects Spain, France, Germany and Poland. Doctors, nurses, and other personnel can thus quickly arrive in a region and go from there to another country or stay in the country.
Italy would also be connected to the railway [system], or if that’s not possible, then via airport travel.
The system has to be coordinated, of course, and either a new institution provides this service or the already-existing institutions in each country establish a network between them to control and coordinate everything.
Other functions of the health-line, or what else it can be called, can be added at some point.
Our neighbouring continent, Africa, could also benefit from it. Perhaps, it could be used as a mean of educating personnel in developing countries (2nd or 3rd world).“
The red lines shows the main railway system, and the blue arrows where the staff could travel from there. Italy got a triangle, because it could host an airport with the same function. It isn’t limited to Italy, though. If other countries are interested, they can host an airport as well.
PS: Just because the arrows don’t point to every country, doesn’t mean that they are being excluded. Anyone who wants to join should be able to join.
Now you have a rough overview over the transportation system, but there’s also a design – one which probably has been thought of already – I had in my mind:
In my document, the following has been written down:
- The wagons/rooms must always be intensively cleaned and disinfected after they have been used -> standard procedure
- Medical Aid must be quickly delivered to a country without bureaucratic obstacles
- Each country has a set amount of these wagons/rooms of special trains/airplanes/airships, either for own use or in cases of an emergency in another country as a mean to quickly deliver aid
- A well-functioning digital and physical infrastructure (e.g. railways, airports) are absolutely essential to such a network
- All medical research, if not already done so, must occur on a European-wide level and publicly funded -> everyone shall benefit from it
- Automation makes it possible to produce medicine and medical tools in Europe, this shall be used to cover the minimum during normal times (i.e. no crisis)
- The right to healthcare shall not be infringed
If I have forgotten anything, or you want to add a task of the healthline, then feel free to write a comment.
Here’s the PDF-file:
Answer of the European Parliament
If the screenshot is hard to read, here copy & paste:
The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit of the European Parliament has received your request sent to EP President and regarding the corona virus crisis in Spain and Italy.
The Citizens‘ Enquiries Unit is an administrative unit whose mission is to provide citizens with information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament.
About Corona crisis, MEPs debated the situation on Tuesday 10 Marchin plenary. Many MEPs highlighted the need for EU solidarity and for more funds to be put into researching the virus. Necessary medical supplies such as testing kits, masks and respiratory machines should be produced inside the EU and be made available to all EU countries.
On 29 January 2020and 12 February 2020, Members of the European Parliament debated the situation on the coronavirus outbreak and efforts to stop it spreading. The second debate focused on a coordinated European response to protect European citizens from the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring fundamental rights.
The European Parliament has taken a number of practical steps, based on medical advice, including shortening of plenary sessions and relocating them from Strasbourg to Brussels, and cancelling all non-essential meetings and events in the Parliament premises.
The European Commission has set up a response team of five Commissioners. Their work is focussed on three areas: medical impact, mobility and the economy.
First, on the medical impact the Commission can provide outbreak response advice. This is done in support of countries or international organisations and is based on information in cooperation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) which produces rapid risk assessments and epidemiological updates.
Second, on mobility and Schengen borders, the Commission aims to ensure that relevant border control measures are coordinated amongst countries at EU level and that measures are based on sound scientific advice, as well as on the principles of necessity and proportionality. More specifically on aviation, the Commission will put forward legislation enabling airlines to keep their ‚airport slots‘, even if they do not operate flights in those slots because of the declining traffic
Third, on the economy, the Commission has mobilised€140 million of public and private funding for promising research on vaccines, diagnosis and treatment. The Commission will set up a Corona Response Investment Initiative aiming to channel €25 billion worth of investment to directly support the national health care systems, small and medium businesses, labour markets and other vulnerable parts of the EU economy.
EU countries are coordinating daily on the actions to take. The leaders of EU countries have prioritised four main areas, namely: limiting the spread of the virus; ensuring provision of medical equipment; promoting research, including for a vaccine; and tackling socio-economic consequences.
- Coronavirus outbreak, World Health Organisation
- COVID-19, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
- Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, European Parliament At a Glance note, February 2020
- European Commission response– The coronavirus response team
- Council response– Timeline
We thank you for contacting the European Parliament.
Citizens‘ Enquiries Unit
Disclaimer: Please note that the information given by the Citizens‘ Enquiries Unit of the European Parliament is not legally binding.
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