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!

IMAGE CREDITS: Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash


99 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Marcel Krueger

    The EU seems absolutely caught by surprise by this crisis, and the internal discord between member states laid clearly open – otherwise I cannot understand this almost immediate turn back to national decisions and policies that differ vastly across member states. I worry about what the Covid-19 crisis will mean for the solidarity of the union in the future.

    In addition, the whole affair is a PR fiasko for the EU. While we were able to flex our muscles quickly went it came to barring the Greek borders to refugees and send police from all over Europe to Greece and give speeches about it being our “shield”, we are unable to support Spain and Greece who already applied for the civil protection mechanism of the EU on March 16 and are still waiting for help. Citizens there and everywhere across the union will not remember that the EU is making funds available over the next 2 months (if they ever arrive), but images of flag-waving doctors from Cuba and Chinese equipment arriving before supplies from Germany made it to Lombardy.

  2. avatar
    Sandra

    Of course. Not doing it, is like walking in a busy street without a mask…

  3. avatar
    Gabor

    For the example, you actually know what going in Hungary exact at this time political on!? And you leave it!? What is this just an EU still now!? EU!? You are out!

  4. avatar
    Olivier

    Or please shut up. Your train is always late. You could for example organise the storage of first aid equipment for all Europe instead of opening our borders to everybody…

  5. avatar
    Martyna

    Because it would take more time before everyone would agree to implement one universal solution.

  6. avatar
    Jude

    Because not all countries have the same means…..

  7. avatar
    Karel

    Not the member States, but the EU’s own ERCC, which by the way has done basically nothing so far. The ERCC was contacted by Italy as they needed urgent assistance. The ERCC proved its inefficiency: no reply whatsoever.

  8. avatar
    Любомир

    Because the nation states are a lot more effective in solving problems than a gigantic bureaucratic supergovernment.

    • avatar
      Sandra

      Not if these member states are dependent on EU Directives and financial restrictions..

    • avatar
      Makis

      could be…

    • avatar
      Pedro

      ou think single countries would have better response than within the EU??
      Poor you!

    • avatar
      Erik

      The EU is not that efficiant just because the real power is still at the nations states.

    • avatar
      Любомир

      They already proved it, you clearly haven’t been following how the crisis developed.

    • avatar
      Pedro

      proof or it didn’t happen!

    • avatar
      Peter

      ok dissolve russia then

    • avatar
      Antonio

      you should think about Russia

  9. avatar
    Constantin

    Because this stupid and worthless thing called EU is only made out of Germany,France and Itally.This EU is a monstrosity that should have never been borned.

    • avatar
      Constantin

      Yes we were.And most of the romanians can testify this.

    • avatar
      Makis

      so if you have majority please return to sweet daddy of yours. So long boys and girls!!!! Dont forget to send postcards… If He permits…

    • avatar
      Giulia

      What, Italy?? Italy has been left alone too!

    • avatar
      Benny

      the reason Romania has been in a mess, especially over the last 6 months, is because the country hasn’t had a government! The EU can’t be blamed for that!

  10. avatar
    Michael

    Europe is dead. The EU is a zombie.

    • avatar
      Peter

      no

    • avatar
      Michael

      We get no help from EU even in this dire situation. If not for China we would have no help from anyone. France and Germany are hoarding everything for themselves, and Germany will never accept eurobonos. The EU is a hapless bystander to events. It’s irrelevant. We can except the BCE which does have real power.

    • avatar
      Cãlin

      Have patience…! World doesn’t end and neither free spirit of the people. War, earthquakes, inundations, atomic disasters, terrorism or who knows what kind of disasters were covered by norms, but nobody believed in a pandemic hitting all so fast, yet it happened and next time we’ll all know how to act.

    • avatar
      Michael

      Have patience he says with 500 deaths every day. This is a moribund project. There is no point to an EU which is irrelevant, where anything substantial that gets done is done bilaterally with China. Sleepy old Europe is not a funny joke when people are dying of it.

    • avatar
      Diaconu

      ahh , China is the one who created the problem!

  11. avatar
    Matteo

    We need only one thing a EU federation

    • avatar
      Olivier

      yes but with 8 only

    • avatar
      Matteo

      no all the country of Europe

    • avatar
      Peter

      Federation now

    • avatar
      Gabor

      It’s okay! I’m with you! But by this people on the top who will be the leader!? And wich country will dominate it!? I see wishes, but not a solution! Please not the merkelsche Germoneys!

    • avatar
      Antonio

      what you mean? A federation like Switzerland would be perfect

    • avatar
      Gabor

      Yes, why not!? Something like that as the first example. If the countrys and the staats of Europa stay totally sovereign, they’ll wouldn’t be exsisting very long anymore. Sovereignity it’s only good today for such rogue and corrupt staats and regime like the Hungarian, with the leading of mr. Orban as President who in biggest style stealed and robed out (and brainwashed) the own citizens and who up from the last ten years only for his own interest and interest the friends of him hijacked and captured the moneytransfers the european tax payers, which they’ve paid as a benefits to Hungary. He put billions and billions in the pocket of his plumber. No, this is not a joke and it is not funny, this is a true disaster! Inform you please about it! No thanks, such solution have no way by me! But the Dominance of Mutter Merkel!? No! The same like before, not with me!

  12. avatar
    Filipe

    Healthcare is not part of the EU competences. Every country has a huge fire to fight, though some EU coordination would be welcome. In the economic crisis that follows the epidemic, the EU must play a vital role. A very different role than in the last crisis.

  13. avatar
    Yannick

    It’s not about big government pushing down one solution, it’s about making sure ressources are shared where needed. It’s sad to see to good old nationalistic reflex taking full front stage in such time of crisis. Shutting borders, sure, it’s part of confinement measures. But why close national borders and not city borders? The line is arbitrary and borders on the ridiculous. At least the EU so far – I hope – is not following the very sad example of the US: using this crisis to plunder more money for large corporations and the superrich under the ridiculous argument that we must save the economy. We must save the economy when the crisis is over. Bailing out big companies now is throwing money out the windows. Money and resources should go to workers who cannot work and hospitals.

  14. avatar
    Chris

    Because they are useless and need to be consigned to the dustbin of history

  15. avatar
    Christian

    EUROPE is working together ti fight the virus. Look on the European Commissions dedicated site and europa. Dont post stupid misleading misinformation

  16. avatar
    Xristoforos

    Strength needed in National & Union level.

  17. avatar
    Catherine Benning

    Why isn’t Europe solving the crisis together?

    Here is food for thought. There is no doubt this disease and its rapid spread is peculiar.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fC0ewWE1OI

    The first man to get this disease had it in November 2019. He was taken into a Chinese hospital around the beginning of December 2019. It rapidly spread from then on and the Chinese government informed the WHO relatively quickly. So, the world knew of this mid December. However, no flights were stopped from China either at that time or indeed, in the UK until now.

    Once it was known to have have spread to the European continent, flights remained functional from areas proven to have the virus in their population.

    Why would that be? Once the deadly spread was known of throughout the world, travel of possibly infected people was not ended. In my opinion that fact remains very odd. Globalism? Four months has passed with dramatic spread and yet we still await our leaders to act seriously on it.

    In the UK we cannot buy testing corona kits directly. They are inexpensive 8.60 GBP and there are many outlets with them available. However, they have been banned from selling them to the public. This is not addressed in the news so far.

    We are told by South Korea the only way to slow this virus down is via testing and containing those with it. Why is this not being followed in the West?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdSRMrYdxVY

  18. avatar
    Dan

    Because this whole crisis is where the so called European unity nonsense finally crashes up against reality. Name one country where that countries population would be happy to see their own elected government’s decisions being overruled by the EU,the fact is that the nation state is best placed to deliver the protection for it’s own citizens.

  19. avatar
    Γεώργιος

    You mean non existing EU

  20. avatar
    Stefan

    Simple we are not a federation and we do not have federal laws.

  21. avatar
    Miguel

    Because the greedy north wants to make business with our pain (again like in 2008) amd create loans with interests for them amd sell us their products, maintaining the rich(er) north and poor(er) South. Solidarity in EU? Did we ever have? But let.s be positive, it will be cheeaper to get drunk and pee on the street in the spanish holidays for the north. We should leave EU deffinitely.

    • avatar
      Miguel

      well it is quite simple. This is not just an economic crisis. A global Pandemia and we have already 6.528 deaths in Spain. Do you think we fcking care about the mechanisms at the moment? Do you know we have 12.000 doctors/nurses/medical people infected in Spain? We don.t even have a centralized buy out of medical protections in Europe and each country is copin with them and buying in the black market. We won.t forget this one. Selfishness is killing EU.

  22. avatar
    Irena

    True…. Russia and China were the first to help Italy….instead the !!!EU!!

    • avatar
      Alex

      dictatorships are faster at decisionmaking then democracies? wow who could have known that

    • avatar
      Ignazio

      They were also good at advertising it. Other countries have helped too, including France, Germany and Austria, but we hear nothing about that…I wonder why it is

    • avatar
      Irena

      if other EU countries have helped Italy would not ask help to the World))

    • avatar
      Irena

      yes its not an official source

    • avatar
      Mihai

      ou’re going to have to back up your claim with qualitative and quantitative evidence, namely that at this present stage, Russian and Chinese AID (which yes, we do acknowledge exists) is actually proved more effective than the one which has recently been shipped by NATO and the EU as a whole. If not, you may have zero credibility. Check the German Bundeswehr FB page or the NATO official page and check the genuine efforts made to curb this disease. Instead you’re praising Russia and China and refuse to give credit to all other member states. Why is that?

    • avatar
      Ulduz

      Russia sent not only help they sent the collegium of doctor to diagnose and examine the situation)))) it was not help just because of their benefits to learn more about disease and how to react in such situation, because it will be even worse in Russia soon.

    • avatar
      Mihai

      smart move )

    • avatar
      Andreas

      also Greece by supplying tons of medical support.

    • avatar
      Leszek

      Propaganda

  23. avatar
    Manuel

    Selfishness of some countries, like Netherlands, Germany, which in time Will tear apart the EU.

    • avatar
      Alex

      Germans are not selfish to help and share with other me countries. They just don’t want to be able to be able to make them pay for everything. if you wanted me to pay your debts you have to ask me to do that. What the southern countries are saying is that “the divas of the south are and in the future will always be the northern debts too”. I don’t accept that. If you guys want us to help you need to ask us for help politically every time you need help instead of insulting us.

    • avatar
      Miguel

      where is the EU help? China, Russia and Cuba are sending doctors. EU is…..

    • avatar
      Alex

      Different question. What exactly do you want us to do? Fly patients out to Germany? Transfer ventilators and masks to affected countries? Already happened and still happening. I don’t see the problem with that. The problem is that your governments will try to screw us over with the “coronabonds” (plus call us nazis if we don’t like beeing screwed over) of which you exactly know that they are not “coronabonds” but “foreverbonds”. When corona is over in half a year do you think coronabonds would disappear? There is a difference between helping you TREAT PEOPLE NOW and support you in short term economic problems because of corona or pay for your governments FOREVER even when corona is over. Because that is what these coronabonds mean

    • avatar
      Manuel

      get the facts straight. Don’t look to the finger when it’s pointing to the stars. Go back when Germany “EU” “order” the other governments to inject money on the economy ( greater debt) and when they acknowledge the problem with the Deutsch bank, they shifted the policy. It’s was always about German interest (money)…. Which Germany profit a lot without spending a Euro.

    • avatar
      Manuel

      my comments aren’t address to the German people but to the politicians. Take care, be safe.

    • avatar
      David

      I am Portuguese and I think the same way you do. If we had invested the millions that came from the EU in the past correctly we would be in the front line and we would be in your position but unfortunitly for the Portuguses people we have corrupt government all along some more others less. So today I can understand the richer countries not wanting to help in financial aid but unfortunitly the ones who need your help will be the ones that sffer the most. I would like to suggest to the EU to control how the aid they give is spent and if any corruption small or big is detected make the country pay.

    • avatar
      David

      Of course we are coherent if we were Germans we would feel the same. If we don’t see it more and more and we pay more and worse and worse. Don’t tell me it’s also the fault of me.

    • avatar
      Manuel

      rhetoric of reality… pathetic.

  24. avatar
    Sandra

    After Merkel, the EU lost its solidarity and humanity values. What we see today is the rest of good old Europe, but now in the hands of economic decisors that are too ambicious, but lack a higher EU vision… (too many nacionalists owing favours to some big companies)

    • avatar
      Miguel

      was there ever solifarity? Or they wanted to sell their products in the south.

    • avatar
      Alex

      That’s what I think. As a German I don’t mind bailing southern countries out in a crisis with 80, 100 or 150billion euros, the ECB prints money like there is no tomorrow anyway. But I expect this kind of financial transfers to be a one time thing where you are nice and help people in a moment of need instead of a thing where the German and the Italian state suddenly have one common bank acount (eurobonds) and the Italian state keeps taking more and more out of it because the mafia has stolen half of the state budget

    • avatar
      Fátima

      don’t worry. You will soon stand only with nothern countries in the EU. And then we will see how you manage without the southern countries to exploit and corrupt as your companies largely did in the past. You’ll be much better, I believe. All of you hard working folks who don’t spend money in ‘women and wine’, as we are accused of doing. And we, the southern countries, will be amongst our equals. In Portugal, we are used to beeing a country for the last 900 years, and I’m pretty sure we will go on doing so. Stay safe.

    • avatar
      Alex

      I know your history, I speak your language and I respect your country and citizens and estou feliz e com muito orgulho se podemos ajudar o povo portugues. But respect goes both ways. I want my country to still have at least THE CHOICE to help. I want us to make the choice of helping volunterely. Basicaly like we’re philantrops not like in socialism where everything is just taken from the wealthier people. Eurobonds which southern European countries want to introduce will just press us into a situation where they will be able to take, without even showing the respect of asking before doing so.

  25. avatar
    Sandra

    I believe that the creation of the EU was (also) based in solidarity, sharing and co-creation. Irregardless the official national positions and interests, many people, across the whole EU still practice it. I also dont want to promote the north/south speach. I am aware that not all countries have the same financial/corruption, national services investment practices and some discipline needs to be promoted.

  26. avatar
    Tim Stoev

    Because EU is still suffering identity crisis in regards or state responsibility and sovereignty. There is no concept of internal and external affairs, and there isn’t any mechanism that handles containment and de-escalation of issues that spread across the entire system. All of the above is caused by the interpretation of the EU as a piggy-bank, and/or inter-state dispute resolution platform compared to a system that promotes constructive collaboration, and management.

  27. avatar
    Andreas

    Not only the economic response but all matters, this is the reason EU won’t exist in a few years.

  28. avatar
    Sakis

    Because we have an economic exploitation unity based on fear for democracy. I was really loving the idea now i am disgusted to the bone. Lets wrap it up. There can be unity like united nations on a european level that is enough and far better than this german sick joke

  29. avatar
    Giuseppe

    Because our governs are selfish. I don’t think that its populatios is selfish too

  30. avatar
    Olivier

    We Don t trust this Europe any more

  31. avatar
    Pien

    think the EU is doing a lot of stuff but EU citizens don’t know it! I think, and that has always been an issue, that the EU needs to make clear and make public that they’re helping and trying their best

  32. avatar
    Jay

    We need strong leadership to give just enough FORCE to acheive complete political intergrate. Fuck the old “countries” we need a solid United States of Europe now!!

  33. avatar
    Maria

    Because EU is Burocracy Socialism and taxes, nothing more

  34. avatar
    Paul

    Because when crisis starts, solidarity goes out of the window

  35. avatar
    Matt

    Really…. because the Brussels gravy train is coming to a halt.

  36. avatar
    Olivier

    Because European decision process is slow and inefficient
    I fon t think that EU should care about everything but only about
    Safety and security
    International trade and common market
    Finance and Euro
    Tax and social policy

  37. avatar
    Jason

    Because the only important thing is to retain the system of creating fake money on a computer terminal and selling it with interest.

  38. avatar
    Constantinescu

    Because the most important Tg things Europe was interested in the last period was the climatic changes, the saving of the whale and how many genders toilet cabins should exist…

  39. avatar
    Lefteris

    Simple… Because the only way the EU would help member states was by loaning money with huge interest and then give it to the Deutsche Bank.

  40. avatar
    Franz

    Because nation states won’t let it happen. They are unfortunately still the true decision makers. Von der Leyen and the parliament agree on a larger role of the EU. It’s the nation states who just ignore it or dial everything down to the worst possible compromise.

    • avatar
      Edmond

      you’re coming with reason and logic on FB…not many left :(

  41. avatar
    Julia

    Because government’s are doing their jobs for a change — putting their citizens wellbeing first.

  42. avatar
    Boyko

    Because it is a bureaucracy with unelected leadership, chosen by polutical bargain in name of corporations.

  43. avatar
    Elke

    Exactly we are going to think social distancing because the world cannot stop

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