As virus spread, EU activates fast-track decision mode
The EU has adopted a faster decision-making process to help coordinate the response to the novel coronavirus outbreak and allow non-members like Britain to take part.
In a statement issued late Monday, the European Council—which represents member states—said it had agreed to activate its "Integrated Political Crisis Response".
This will allow the EU to focus on "important gaps" in its response to the virus disease, and to involve the European Commission to help prepare decisions quickly.
In addition, neighbouring countries such as Britain or Switzerland, or international actors such as the World Health Organization (WHO) could also be invited to take part.
The streamlined ICPR process was designed in the decade after the 2001 attacks, but has only been activated once before, in response to the 2015 refugee crisis.
A European official told AFP the crisis mode would be "more targeted and faster" in terms of decision-making.
"It also allows us to go beyond our borders by inviting third countries," he said. Member states less concerned by the virus outbreak could also stay away from some meetings.
© 2020 AFP