Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said on Wednesday (5 May) he hoped that the summit between leaders of the EU and India would open an “important new chapter” between Brussels and New Delhi, despite the “dramatic scenario” of the pandemic.
The Porto summit this weekend could be a “watershed moment” for EU-India relations to push for stronger health cooperation in the context of the pandemic, enhanced cooperation on trade and investment, and a partnership on connectivity, the country’s envoy to Brussels, Santosh Jha, told EURACTIV in an interview ahead of the EU-India leaders meeting on Saturday (8 May).
The EU-India bilateral summit which had been planned to take place during Portugal’s presidency of the Council of the EU has been postponed until the leaders involved can attend in person, Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs confirmed on Tuesday (5 May).
While the pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also had widespread impact on people’s mental health, inducing, among other things, considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern. The growing burden on mental health has been referred to by some as the ‘second’ or ‘silent’ pandemic. While negative mental health consequences affect all ages, young people, in particular, have been found to be at high risk of developing poor mental health. Specific groups have been particularly hard hit, including health and care workers, people with pre-existing mental health problems, and women. The pandemic has also appeared to increase inequalities in mental health, both within the population and between social groups. To address the population’s increased psycho-social needs, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe established an expert group on the mental health impacts of Covid-19 in the European region. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has issued analyses and guidance on mental health in general and the pandemic’s impact on mental health in particular. At European Union level, a December 2020 European Commission communication addressed the pandemic’s impact on mental health. In May 2021, the Commission organised a major online stakeholder event, and published best practice examples of solutions presented. A July 2020 European Parliament resolution recognises mental health as a fundamental human right, calling for a 2021-2027 EU action plan on mental health. Members of the European Parliament have also called on the Commission to put mental health at the heart of EU policymaking. Stakeholders broadly rally around calls for programmes and funding to improve citizens’ mental health, not least to respond to the pandemic’s long-term implications.
Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP