ATHENS – "We are called to face conditions that remind us of science fiction. Our response to the crisis is an unprecedented step toward unification and solidarity," Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas said in the debate on the new Pact for Migration and Asylum on Friday, in a special joint session of the Parliamentary Committees for European Affairs and Public Administration, Public Order and Justice. Referring to the EU initiatives and efforts in the "battle" against the coronavirus pandemic, Schinas spoke of "a small miracle" that "we made happen together…in support of protecting the health of citizens and the public interest" .
"As much as some people do not like this, only someone who is negatively biased will fail to acknowledge what the Europe of 27 has achieved so far. Or what would happen if member-states competed with each other over who would buy vaccines first," he said. "A new package for the safe resumption of travel will be presented in the coming weeks, specifically addressing the issue of vaccination certificates – an initiative in which Greece has pioneered," he said.
Schinas also spoke about "protecting the economy" from the effects of the pandemic, "making the most of the flexibility of the temporary framework for competition rules, removing the constraints of the Stability Pact and supporting employment through the SURE programme, which provides support in Greece amounting to more than 2.0 billion euros." He also referred to the European multiannual financial framework for the period 2021-2027, noting that Greece "will be the 4th most favoured country, in proportion to the size of its economy," as the money it will receive will be "a unique opportunity to stimulate growth and modernise its economy, almost doubling the annual amount of public investment for the coming years."