Judy Asks: Can Europe become stronger after the coronavirus pandemic?

Opinion piece (Carnegie Europe)
26 March 2020

The EU’s initial response to the crisis was haphazard, with member states taking center stage. But the EU could emerge stronger from this pandemic if it learns from its past mistakes.

The EU’s concerted efforts to counter the economic effects of the coronavirus could lead to a breakthrough in eurozone integration. Both southern and northern member states could be equally hit by the crisis. This realization could prompt eurozone leaders to opt for a degree of risk sharing through debt mutualization—something inconceivable several months ago.

The EU could also prove its worth by better coordinating national efforts to counter the pandemic. The EU initially struggled to do so as member states decided to reintroduce internal border controls, but it could prove useful once national suppression efforts succeed in “flattening the curve”; without coordination at the European level, a decision to relax emergency measures in one member state may lead to a renewed outbreak elsewhere.

Sooner or later the European public will realize that their governments cannot deal with this global crisis on their own. If the EU can show that it is ready to support member states every step on the way it will have improved its image across the bloc.

Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska is a senior research fellow and Luigi Scazzieri is a research fellow at the Centre for Europea Reform.

You can read the full article here.