Coronavirus is proving a serious test for European cooperation. Borders have been closed between EU Member States, putting strains on supply chains for food and medicine. The European Commission has been urging countries to work together and keep their internal borders open for goods and essential staff, but with only partial success.
National policy responses to the pandemic have also often seemed uncoordinated, with different countries pursuing radically different strategies. This has led, for example, to French President Emmanuel Macron taking the extraordinary step of warning UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson he was considering closing French borders to UK citizens unless the British introduced tougher social distancing measures (with the proviso, of course, that the UK is no longer an EU Member State).
EU Member States have also been accused of approaching the economic response to the crisis from “different angles”. The early missteps of the European Central Bank reflected clear differences in opinion behind the scenes as to the best approach (though the initial communication error was swiftly corrected).
Although a consensus has emerged that governments need to use all available firepower to fight the crisis, there is still disagreement about how to do that in a way that doesn’t cause even more long-term damage. Meanwhile, different European countries are adopting very different strategies, with different consequences.
Why isn’t Europe solving the crisis together? Should EU Member States adopt a more coordinated response? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!