. European recovery after the COVID crises
By Ingemar Pongratz
The European Continent is currently trying to recover after the SARS-COVID-19 crises. This disease is caused by a corona virus which was identified in Wuhan in China. Currently, the original source of the virus is still under debate. A lot of information points towards the wet markets in the city of Wuhan. These markets are characterized by poor hygienic conditions, the presence of both meats from wild animals and mixture of different living animals which are often slaughtered under doubtful conditions. These conditions provide a route for transmission from animals to humans.
The disease is characterized by considerable damage to the patient’s lungs and can be fatal. In particular elderly patients with underlying health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc a affected.
The virus traveled from China to Europe during wintertime, when conditions allow for rapid transmission (cold weather, low humidity and people are indoors to avoid the cold) to humans. This resulted in a very high death toll, which is still increasing.
To stop the disease from spreading, European national leaders imposed quarantine. The quarantine forced the population to remain indoors for several weeks / months. Not surprisingly, the quarantine led to massive economic problems and hit the European economy very hard.
The European economies have therefore launched several support programs to support their economies during the crises. The European Union was basically completely side-lined during the crisis. However, the Commission is now working on instruments to support European recovery after the COVID crises.
The plan to support European recovery after the COVID crises has been extensively discussed. Four European member states (Sweden, The Netherlands, Austria and Denmark have opposed the several aspects of the recovery plan, such the presence of grant, common loans secured by the EU etc. However, the plans are in place and under implementation.
The plan for European recovery after the COVID crises is structured around three main activities. One large funding stream will be provided to EU countries according to the severity that they were hit by the pandemic. The second area aims to mobilize funding from private sources to support the economy and key economic sectors across Europe.
The third pillar will support international collaboration in the areas of innovation and research. The pillar will focus on EU neighbours regions such as the Balkans.
To fund the plan to boost European recovery after the COVID crises, the European Commission will secure loans. However, this approach will support countries with considerable financial problems such as Italy and Span.
The fund to support European recovery after the COVID crises will not affect other areas, such as the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation fund. However, the research community is concerned. The concern is that research and innovation needs further funding. The research community is also concerned that the four member states who opposed the fund will aim to reduce the EU budget to reduce their financial commitment to the EU budget.
More information and details will surely come out in the future.
Ingemar Pongratz is a consultant and entrepreneur. He established Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting to support universities and other organizations to apply for European research funding. In addition, Ingemar Pongratz established Letavis AB to develop novel science-based products for the agricultural market
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