Solidarity is a founding principle of the European Union. It’s based on the idea of sharing both advantages and burdens fairly between EU Member States. However, what that actually means in practice is ambiguous. Calls for greater solidarity were common during both the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the 2015-16 migration crisis, yet critics argue the EU fell short.
Will the economic response to the pandemic be different? The EU’s recovery plan (#NextGenerationEU) is worth more than €800 billion, representing the EU’s largest stimulus package ever. Will it be enough to help repair the socio-economic damage brought about by COVID-19?
Several of the young Europeans we talked to for our 100 European Voices focus group project were sceptical. For example, Mark from Hungary told us he was frustrated with red tape and the amount of support when it came to economic support from his government:
There is so much bureaucracy with [state support during the pandemic]. It’s also too little to rely on. So, I thought that it’s not worth hassling with.
What’s the picture like between governments? Has there been enough EU economic solidarity? To get a policymaker perspective, we put this question to members of the European Parliament from all political groups. Expand the cards below to find out what politicians think of the EU’s response to the pandemic:
The Recovery and Resilience Facility of the EU makes €672.5 billion in grants and loans available for helping to recover from the pandemic. I do support the idea of a common EU-recovery plan, but one that is wisely implemented. Solidarity should be expressed in long-term, sustainable support for growth and innovation. We cannot burden future generations with debt for solving short-term needs.
Curious to know more about economic solidarity between EU countries during COVID? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
Has there been enough economic solidarity between EU countries during COVID? Have European governments supported one another during the pandemic? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!