Brussels, March 27, 2020 – Pirate MEPs supported three proposals of the European Commission concerning a change of the rules for allocating flight slots and financial aid for countries and regions to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis. The creation of a EUR 37 billion emergency fund to combat coronavirus was approved. First time in the history, members of the European Parliament were able to vote distantly as a response to the current coronavirus pandemic crisis.
MEPs voted on Commission proposals that will help financially and will speed up investments for the benefit of the health sector, SMEs and other vulnerable parts of the Member States’ economies. And because time is of the essence now, all political groups agreed to adopt the Commission proposal without amendments, which would otherwise delay the process for a few more weeks. The only political group that actively jeopardized this rapid advance was the ID group. By the approval of the European Commission’s emergency investment fund, Member States will now be able to receive financial support totalling up to EUR 37 billion, both to combat the spread of the coronavirus and to mitigate its impact.
Pirates welcome the Union’s action to help; however, they draw attention to the need for control and appropriate distribution of support from the Fund at national level to get money where they are really needed.
„In the context of the coronavirus epidemic outbreak and its consequences, it was urgently needed to take action as quick as possible. However, now it is important that the funds provided reach those who need them and do not end up in pockets of those in power. Hence, opposition parties not only have to be constructive but also vigilant. Pirates are ready to be such watchdogs in these difficult times,” said Pirate MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament Marcel Kolaja.
The European Parliament also voted on a so-called “ghost flights”. Under current rules, air carriers must use at least 80 % of their allocated slots, otherwise they face the risk of losing them. As a result, there are redundant flights with a minimum number of passengers, now when people do not travel. The financial losses are deteriorating and cause an adverse impact on the environment. Thanks to the approval of the emergency proposal, the Regulation has been temporarily amended and airlines will still be able to keep their flight schedules without unnecessary flights.