“These are extraordinary times for people across Europe. The COVID-19 outbreak has forced EU member states to introduce drastic social distancing measures and travel restrictions. It is essential that we all comply with them. But these measures clearly have a severe social and economic impact on the lives of citizens across Europe, including direct and indirect effects in the fields of education and culture”, said the Chair of the EP Culture and Education Committee Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE) on Tuesday.
“There are currently tens of thousands of people, sometimes even schoolchildren, on an Eramsus+ exchange programme or taking part in a European Solidarity Corps volunteering project. Many will be far from their families and loved ones. The European Union has a duty towards them. I call on the Commission and the member states to do all they can to support these people, protect their welfare and, where possible, help them to return home. I also urge the Commission to work with member states to support digital learning solutions for the millions of schoolchildren and students who now find themselves at home.”
“In the cultural sector, we have seen cinemas, small concert venues, theatres and museums close their doors. I salute the incredible response from the sector, for example in making performances available for free online. But we must recognise that so many active in the sector are individual artists and small businesses, whose very existence is under threat. I call on the Commission and member states to reassure the sector that they will do whatever they can – notably through substantial financial support – to mitigate the effects on the sector. The creative sector is hit by this crisis in the same way as the food and drink service sector and needs the same level of support.”
“The Committee on Culture and Education stands with the education and culture sectors and indeed with everyone affected by the virus outbreak,” she concluded.