President of the European Council: Mobilizing EU collective intelligence for responsible lockdown exit strategies#


Science will allow to overcome the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Within a few months, researchers identified the enemy in its smallest details, deciphered its strategy of mass destruction, and developed tools to track it down. Most importantly, weapons to kill the virus and protect us from its resurgence are emerging. Knowledge sharing has never been organized so quickly and so transparently. Essential results are exchanged and made available in real time to the entire scientific community. Barriers between disciplines are blurring to address the multiple threats that we are facing. The remarkable involvement of economists in the search for concrete solutions to this systemic crisis is striking in this respect.

Lockdown exit is needed without undue delay – but only once healthcare capacity offers sufficient assurances against possible future waves – and even so the European Union will soon enter a new uncharted path with extremely challenging social, economic and political consequences. Citizen ownership will be essential to address this unprecedented challenge.

We, European scientists from different disciplines, are committed to mobilize our collective intelligence to elaborate and implement responsible and sustainable lockdown exit strategies. For this purpose, we call on European leaders to massively invest in the fight against COVID-19 through an innovative capacity building initiative that would provide the necessary autonomy to publicly funded and private partners. This initiative should be properly coordinated in the short term by a high-level crisis management task force bringing around the table all key stakeholders, and in the medium term by a proper independent and accountable European agency for infectious diseases.

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