The European Commission is working closely with China to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak and will not tolerate any racial discrimination, an European commissioner has said.
"The Commission is working closely with China, both at technical and political levels," European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli said in a debate on Wednesday night at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
The European Union (EU) has already provided 12 tons of protective equipment to China, said Dalli, adding that this move was "a clear sign of" solidarity.
"We have been in contact with Member States and private companies to identify stocks of protective personal equipment that go beyond EU needs and could be shared with China," she noted.
The commissioner highlighted that "we need to focus on assisting China," because "this helps the Chinese ... it also decreases the risk for the rest of the world."
Concerning the potential for xenophobia, Dalli said "Discrimination against Asians or persons perceived as Asians or any other race or ethnicity is contrary to EU law. The Commission will not tolerate any racial discrimination in whatever form it takes."
A number of Members of European Parliament (MEP) also called for solidarity with the Chinese people in the anti-epidemic battle.
By noting that the EU and China have become strategic partners since 2003, Jan Zahradil, an MEP from the Czech Republic, said it was really good to see that the EU is working with China in the fight against the epidemic.
"China is too important a global player. So if it is internally hit by the disease, it will also have global consequences," said Zahradil. "If the EU wants to be a global player and it wants to show global responsibility, it's time to revive that strategic partnership."