Brussels, 27 May 2020


THE MOMENT OF TRUTH: More than ever, the European Commission needs to be ambitious and surprise EU citizens

Dear President von der Leyen,

By our three previous communications (R&D demands the European Commission to shape the European Union of tomorrow and not let (once again) millions of citizens down, R&D’s plea for the European Commission to be back as the true engine of European Integration and to play a pivotal role in this crisis,  During this time of health and economic emergency, R&D is cal­ling the European Commission to be back as the true engine of European Integration and to play a key role in this crisis)  R&D federal, the largest Trade Union representing the staff of the EU Institu­tions, Executive and Decentralized Agencies and other EU Bodies, has called upon you and the College to play a pivotal role in tackling effectively the COVID-19 pandemic at EU level.

We once again would like to thank sincerely the hundreds of colleagues who constantly show us their full support and encourage us to push the European Commission to be back as the true engine of the European integration.

Along these lines, R&D federal fully supports your actions considering to launch an infringement procedure against the recent decision of the German Supreme Court to question the autonomy of the ECB “literally inviting” judges from other countries to also rule against the European Court of Justice and undermine the EU’s authority.

Following the last European Council of the 23rd April, you and the College have been entrusted with the challenging task to elaborate a solid proposal to get the EU out of the swamp.

According to the analysis of our taskforce of economists, the proposal you will issue today must be both significant in size and bring substantial countercyclical effects to the many challenges we will be facing. It must also be the true turning-point for the EU to tackle the other unprecedented challenge, the climate crisis.  

Amongst the latter: millions of workers being furloughed, SMEs facing shortage of liquidity, a tourism sector on its knees due to the temporary suspension of the Schengen Treaty and disrupted supply chains.

The current crisis is unprecedented in the history of the European Union. No life, no workplace, no business remains unaffected from this global shock.

Even the single market, once a reasonably playing field, is now lopsided.

In the depression to come, Spain and Italy (fourth and third economies of the Union) will – like other smaller EU economies – endure deeper recessions than Germany, leaving them less financial muscle to help domestic businesses and minimise excess unemployment.

Not for the first time in the block’s history, the burden falls heaviest on those least able to beat it.

Collapsing European economies would wreck the cosy economic settlement that has been so beneficial to the likes of some Member States (even the so called “frugal four”).                                                                              

The euro has enabled some countries to run huge trade surpluses without being hindered by an appreciating currency.

It is clear to everybody that a more realistic level of intra-EU fiscal transfers would be a small price to pay.

As recently put by ECB President Christine Lagarde, the COVID-19 pandemic is a symmetrical shock and monetary policy, although effective so far, cannot replace the fiscal one sine die.

Without a comprehensive Recovery Fund, we risk not only the rise of populism and disaffection towards the EU dream but also that the Single Market entrenches inequality rather than spreading wealth.

To pave the way out of the crisis, more than ever, we need to benefit from the strength of acting together as Europeans and to join our forces in ways we have not used before.

Expectations are, now, high in every corner of the Union.

This is especially true after French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have backed the idea of a € 500 bn. Recovery Fund in grants.

We welcome such a proposal as it goes along the direction we have always hoped for: innovative tools to face unprecedented challenges.

However, the Commission must be ambitious and not let down EU citizens by simply being the copy-cat of the Member States proposals.

R&D federal insists on the need to respond to a great shock with an even greater counter-shock to avoid a complete disaster

R&D urges therefore the European Commission together with the European Parliament to lead immediately and play its role for a true European Solidarity, and is therefore:

· Calling on you, as the President of the European Commission and the College, to draw an ambitious and revised MFF proposal, to boost the economy in a sustainable manner and generate positive macroeconomic spill-overs;

· Calling on you, as President of the European Commission and the College, to rebalance the EU’s economy, by putting grants totalling € 1.5 trn paid for with debt backed collectively by the EU as a whole.

· Calling on you, as President of the European Commission and the College, to keep defending the European Dream by ensuring the supremacy of the EU law on national législation.

On behalf of R&D FEDERAL,

Cristiano Sebastiani, R&D Commission, Executive and Decentralised agencies, other EU bodies

Beatrice Postiglione, R&D Council

Pasquale Ciuffreda, R&D European Parliament

Oren Wolff, R&D EEAS

Dimitrios Katsanidis, R&D CoR and EESC