The Italian politician, who served as the 10th President of the European Commission, said: "This is like a war, but the EU has no strategy". Prodi entered the bloc demanding that Europe act as an "anchor for democracy" if it does not want to "disappear from the map". The former president of the European Commission described the battle against COVID-19 as not being the 2008 financial crisis that started in the financial sector and then affected the rest of the economy.
He warned that this pandemic "affects everyone".
He added: "It affects restaurant owners and those who need to eat.
"There is a widespread idea that European solidarity ends up helping others, but the Dutch need to understand something: if a big crisis occurs, who will buy your tulips?
"We need a strategy or we are going to disappear from the map."
In Europe, he added, "there is no strategy for the future", but "the group of countries that reject austerity by definition has become much stronger".
He also asked for more financial assistance from the European Central Bank.
He stressed how the EU needs a common strategy and "a strong immediate incentive for companies like the American one, but we have not seen any of that".
He added: "We do not understand that Europe has remained the only anchor of democracy.
The center-right European People's Party (PPE), which unites the parties of 11 EU leaders, including Angela Merkel and Leo Varadkar, issued a statement on Monday calling on the government to extend the Brexit transition beyond the end of the year.
Christophe Hansen, a Luxembourg MEP who participates in the European Parliament's International Trade Committee, said: “In these extraordinary circumstances, I cannot see how the UK government would choose to expose itself to the double stroke of the coronavirus and to leave the EU. single market, which will inevitably increase disruption, agreement or not.
“I just hope that common sense and substance prevail over ideology. An extension of the transition period is the only responsible thing to do. "
David McAllister, the German MEP who leads the European Parliament's work on the future relationship with the UK, said the pandemic has complicated an "already very ambitious" timetable.
He added: "The ball is now clearly on the British court".
Under the withdrawal agreement, the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, ending the British association with the EU's single market and customs union.
But it can be extended for a year or two if both sides agree until July 1.