Brussels – Slovenian MEPs expressed on Thursday full support for the first set of EU measures aiming to take on the coronovirus crisis, but several of them have also expressed criticism of the bloc’s slow initial reaction.
Franc Bogovič (SLS/EPP) called for a prompt, concerted response and for solidarity, while Ljudmila Novak (NSi/EPP) highlighted expectations of a major economic crisis, arguing the European Stability Mechanism would need to be activated again.
Several Slovenian MEPs suggested the EU had taken too long to react, with Tanja Fajon (SD/S&D) for instance noting the bloc had had no joint lockdown strategy.
Fajon would moreover like to see a more uniform approach to testing, while she also highlighted issues with the procurement of protective equipment.
What is more, Fajon believes the Western Balkans should not be let down and that the solidarity fund should not only be expanded to countries already negotiating for EU accession.
Romana Tomc (SDS/EPP) highlighted the looming “economic crisis whose scope will be unimaginable and also cause a social crisis”.
Tomc took issue with the European Commission initially criticising member states which acted on their own initiative to contain things while the Commission was slow to react. The Commission’s response is much better know, Tomc said, while pointing out the EPP is calling that the formation of a real European centre for crisis management be considered.
Milan Zver (SDS/EPP) agreed the EU is fortunately reacting better in the second phase, while he took the opportunity to criticise leading media in Slovenia, which he said used the first days of the crisis to undermine the government of SDS leader Janez Janša, who had taken over as the epidemic broke out.
Zver moreover urged the EU to stop the migration waves, saying these could mean an additional burden on healthcare systems that are already on the verge of collapse.
Meanwhile, Irena Joveva (RENEW/LMŠ) as well as party colleague Klemen Grošelj stressed that additional measures would need to follow, while Grošelj also urged that “the principles and values are preserved that form the foundations of our democratic system”.
Milan Brglez (S&D/SD) noted that EU action was vital here and that “we are finally in a field where we can do this and simultaneously develop a social union”.
Even if the basic treaties do not exist that would enable this, the political will is there and this needs to be used, Brglez said, highlighting the boosted investment into healthcare, SMEs and expanded scope of the EU Solidarity Fund.