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Joint read-out of the videoconference of Commission President von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Conte

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 20 oktober 2020.

Today, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met by videoconference.

Their discussion focused on how Italy and the EU can recover in a sustainable and resilient manner from the current crisis. Italy will benefit from NextGenerationEU, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility that aims to support the reforms and investments in the EU's common priorities. They welcomed the continued close cooperation between Italy and the Commission in the preparation of the Italian recovery and resilience plan ahead of its submission. Both sides agreed that this plan will reflect an ambitious reform and investment agenda towards greener, more digital and inclusive growth to the benefit of the Italian people, in particular the young generation.

They believe that health is a common global good and a whole-of-society responsibility/asset. In an increasingly interdependent world, the health of one country determines that of another, irrespective of geographic location. Viruses do not respect borders. This calls for accountability and solidarity by all. Experience shows that going alone is simply self-defeating and counterproductive short and long run.

They emphasised the need for a shift from protecting our health through health care to protecting health through prevention, preparedness and resilience.

International coordination needs to be improved in light of the COVID-19 experience. Better coordination should contribute to prevention of epidemic threats. Through the revision of international regulations, better management of cross-border health threats should be achieved.

On the digital side, international surveillance, data collection and early warning systems must be improve. Data must be shared across borders with mutual transparency on identified threats and available response capacities.

True preparedness requires sustained investment. Securing a “buffer” for emergencies is not a sunk cost, it is an investment with a very good return in times of crisis. The global productive model for health-related products should be analysed, as shortages of goods that are essential for a quick and effective response must be avoided. There should be no export restrictions of strategic or essential health solutions (protective equipment, or raw materials for pharmaceutical countermeasures). Finally, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of other illnesses should not be discontinued during health-related emergencies.

They also agreed that Europe needs a predictable, fair and resilient migration management system, with the right balance between responsibility sharing and solidarity, and fully protecting European values and fundamental rights including the right to asylum. They committed to work together in this direction on the basis of the Commission's proposals for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. They emphasised the need to agree a sustainable European approach to search and rescue at sea.

They stressed the importance of engaging with partner countries, particularly in Africa, in addressing mobility and all aspects of migration. They commended recent examples of cooperation between Italy, the Commission and other Member States on this issue, for example through the Ministerial Conference of Ministers of the Interior of EU Member States and African Partners or the joint mission to Tunisia. They committed to further close cooperation in this regard.

Finally, they also took stock of the EU-UK negotiations. They agreed that the negotiations should be intensified to find solutions to the open issues. They concurred that there is no time to loose. They reaffirmed the EU's objective to reach an agreement, but not at any price. They reiterated the need for a full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

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