Parliament to hold COVID-19 crisis plenary with remote voting

The extraordinary plenary session, which will take place on March 26, will see MEPs use a remote voting system for the first time.
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By Lorna Hutchinson

Lorna Hutchinson is Deputy Editor of The Parliament Magazine

19 Mar 2020


European Parliament President David Sassoli has called an extraordinary plenary session for March 26 to approve measures to tackle the outbreak of Coronavirus.

The plenary session will be the first to use a remote voting system.

Sassoli said in a statement, “I was determined that Parliament would remain open because democracy cannot be stopped by this virus. We are the only European institution elected by citizens and we want to represent and defend them.”


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“For this reason I decided to convene an extraordinary plenary session on Thursday 26 March in order to approve the emergency measures presented by the European Commission. It will be the first plenary that will use the distance voting system. In the face of this emergency, we must use all the means we have available.”

He added, “It is a difficult time. We want to be close to families who have lost loved ones, to those who are sick, and to European compatriots who are experiencing a moment of great fear. We must use all our energies and appeal to everyone's responsibility. Europe will only succeed if we are united, courageous and supportive.”

The news of the extraordinary plenary session was welcomed by political groups and deputies alike.

The S&D Group said, “As we requested, next Thursday the Plenary will sit for one day to vote on measures on COVID-19, with most MEPs attending remotely. Protecting European’s health and our economy from the worst consequences of this crisis will be our top priorities.”

“Democracy cannot be stopped by this virus. We are the only European institution elected by citizens and we want to represent and defend them” David Sassoli, European Parliament President

The EPP Group said that it welcomed the decision by the European Parliament to “take its responsibility and find a safe way to approve the urgent proposals of the European Commission in the fight against the Coronavirus.”

EPP Group chairman Manfred Weber said, “In this time of crisis, we need unity and decisive action to protect citizens and our economy.”

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