As we mark half a century of Earth Day, we are faced with two crises: the coronavirus pandemic; and the gradually growing disaster for our climate. We must solve both challenges. The world was not prepared for the novel coronavirus. But we still have time to prepare for the climate crisis in every part of the world.
It is now more than a month that the corona virus has Europe in its grip. While every day we work flat out to address the crisis in all its aspects, it is good to step back and reflect on what living with COVID19 means, for our daily lives, for Europe, for the wider world and how it will affect our society.
The coronavirus has not only Europe but the entire global community in its grip and is the world’s common enemy. An enemy we can only defeat with a global approach and cross-border coordination. And while we have to mobilise all our resources to fight the virus at home, now is also the time to look beyond our borders, most specifically at our sister continent Africa and the Southern Neighbourhood, as well as at the Western Balkans, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Because solidarity cannot be an empty word and also because for as long as the virus will not be eradicated everywhere, it will remain a threat to all of us.
In a rapidly changing world, shifting geopolitical landscapes, climate change, environmental degradation and the digital transition, pose unquestionable challenges to human rights and democracy. However, new technologies also offer the potential to trigger positive transformation towards more democratic and inclusive societies.