20:50 GMT29 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - EU heads of state and government have called for the establishment of a Europe-wide crisis management centre in the light of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, according to a draft statement of the European Council seen by Euroactiv.

    "While the urgency is presently on fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and its immediate consequences, we should start to prepare the measures necessary to get back to a normal functioning of our societies and to sustainable growth, drawing all lessons from the crisis", the statement said.

    According to the document, this will require an exit strategy, a comprehensive recovery plan and unprecedented investment.

    "The time has come to put into place a more ambitious and wide-ranging crisis management system within the EU, including, for instance, a true European Crisis Management Centre," it added.

    EU leaders are expected to hold a conference call on Thursday to discuss a joint response to the pandemic, including issues related to the economy, health care systems and the impact of COVID-19 on people.

    Europe is currently the epicenter of the deadly epidemic, with Italy and Spain being the worst-hit countries.

    Tags:
    pandemic, coronavirus, COVID-19, Europe
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