MEPs from the Special Committee on COVID-19 visited several regions most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Italy.
From 2 to 4 November, a delegation of MEPs led by the Chair of Parliament’s Special Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic (COVI) Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D, BE), visited Padua, Bergamo and Milan, cities in Italy’s Veneto and Lombardy regions, to evaluate on site the response and main challenges faced during the first weeks of the outbreak. The findings will feed into the preparation of the COVI report, a set of recommendations aiming to better prepare the EU for future public health threats.
Following the visit, COVI Chair Kathleen Van Brempt said:
“Italy was one of the first European countries severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when no one really understood this deadly virus, the Italian people were forced to tackle an unknown and lethal enemy, which was a truly Herculean task. Because of their experiences and acquired knowledge, many other countries were able to prepare their response to this enormous health crisis. Therefore, it was absolutely crucial for the Special Committee on COVID-19 to visit Padua, Bergamo and Milan, three cities that have faced unimaginable hardship.
In Padua, we learned more about the ground-breaking scientific work of the Department of Virology and Microbiology in the Hospital Giustinianeo. Their data collection and analysis of the entire population of the municipality Vo’ Euganeo helped scientists all over the world gain more insight into COVID-19.
Being able to manage the immense influx of patients, the distribution of medical protection equipment and vaccines was anything but uncomplicated. The experiences shared by the mayors of Padua, Bergamo and Milan and the President of the Regional government on their pandemic approach were illuminating.
But, what will stay with us the most, are the stories and testimonies of the many courageous health care workers and volunteers in the local hospitals, elderly homes and NGOs. They worked tirelessly for months on end to keep their fellow citizens safe.
We cannot express how much we admire the people we have spoken to in the last few days. Our committee will take the many lessons we have learned on this mission as guidelines to work towards a more resilient Europe in future crises.”
The delegation, led by COVI Chair Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D, BE), consisted of: Aldo Patriciello (only 3 November) (EPP, IT), Alessandra Moretti (S&D, IT), Romana Jerković (S&D, HR), Pierfrancesco Majorino (only 3-4 November) (S&D, IT), Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Renew Europe, FR), Rosa D’Amato (only 2 November) (Greens/EFA, IT), Christine Anderson (ID, DE), Cristian Terheș (ECR, RO), Marisa Matias (The Left, PT) and accompanying member Stefania Zambelli (only 4 November) (ID, IT).
In March 2022, the European Parliament established a new “Special committee on the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learned and recommendations for the future” (COVI). The committee’s work focuses on four areas: health, democracy and fundamental rights, social and economic impact, as well as global aspects related to the pandemic.