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The European Union’s reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic – a preliminary assessment

How well has the European Union handled the Covid-19 pandemic? Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos and Georgette Lalis present a detailed analysis of the EU’s actions thus far in the outbreak. They write that despite a slow and initially haphazard approach, there has ultimately been a substantial response. Public health care systems, alongside state bureaucracies and public finances, are being tested to their limits by the Covid-19 pandemic. The same can be said – albeit in a different way – about...

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Beating Covid-19: The problem with national lockdowns

Lockdowns have now become a fact of life for many countries across the world, but even if they succeed in halting the spread of Covid-19, are they sustainable? Martin J. Bull argues that lockdowns pose major challenges for European countries and the approach pursued by South Korea may need to be explored as a long-term solution. Are ‘authoritarian-style’ lockdowns, involving the most significant restrictions on freedom of movement since the war and huge economic and social impact, the best...

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Assessing the European Union’s performance in the Covid-19 pandemic

Tough questions about the EU’s role in the pandemic response are coming soon – if they are not already here. The problem is we have few criteria against which to assess the EU’s performance during crises. Mark Rhinard lays out some options. One truism of any crisis is the swift onset of the blame game. Even before the initial shock ends, the fingers of government officials, pundits and commentators begin pointing in different directions. Claims are thrown about as to what went wrong and who...

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Greek-Turkish border crisis: Refugees are paying the price for the EU’s failure to reform its asylum system

At the end of February, Turkey announced that it would no longer enforce a deal reached with the EU in 2016 to block irregular migration routes into Greece. Nicoletta Enria and Sarah Gerwens write that the resulting crisis at the Greek-Turkish border highlights the failure of the EU to effectively reform its asylum system. In late February, before COVID-19 began to spread across Europe, reports of renewed violence at the Greek-Turkish border were getting louder amid speculation that the...

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Europe’s failure to address Covid-19 shows the need for a European ‘health citizenship’

The Covid-19 crisis illustrates that globalisation entails health risks, and that the institutional design of public health systems is ill-suited for the scale of a pandemic, writes Joan Costa-Font. He argues that the inefficiency of the policies implemented by different EU member states highlights why a Europe-wide public health authority should now be a priority to counteract collective action problems among different member states. EU membership should be accompanied by a European ‘health...

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Europe’s choice: A borderless crisis requires a borderless solution

EU governments have adopted a diverse range of measures to tackle the coronavirus crisis, but there has been a perceived lack of coordination and unity among member states. Michael Cottakis argues that for Europe, the danger is obvious: the normalisation of new measures of protection and of the belief that national solutions are sufficient for addressing problems on a global scale. Yet the new coronavirus is the clearest demonstration thus far that borders do not protect us – and that...

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Does differentiated integration improve the democratic legitimacy of the European Union? Evidence from the 2015 Danish opt-out referendum

The principle of differentiated integration, under which states participate in EU policies selectively, has become a core feature of the European Union. But little is known about the attitudes of citizens toward this form of integration. Drawing on a new study of Denmark’s 2015 referendum on the country’s opt-out from EU Justice and Home Affairs cooperation, Frank Schimmelfennig and Dominik Schraff highlight that differentiated integration has the potential to improve citizens’ assessments of...

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Book Review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress by Thomas J. Bollyky

In Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, Thomas J. Bollyky combines a ‘germ’s eye view’ of human history with some powerful reflections on the challenges that face us over the coming decades. This is a beautifully written book, recommends Duncan Green, packed with great one-liners and historical anecdotes. This review was originally published on the blog From Poverty to Power. Plagues and the Paradox of Progress. Thomas J. Bollyky. MIT Press. 2019. If you want to step back and think more...

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European health systems and COVID-19: Some early lessons

COVID-19 is putting unprecedented pressure on European healthcare systems. Tamara Popic draws together some early lessons, arguing that the crisis should prompt a rethink of the direction of healthcare policies across Europe, and that the principle of solidarity must now move to the forefront as countries seek to mitigate the impact of the outbreak. The spread of COVID-19 has put new pressures on already strained national health systems across Europe. In Italy, the country reporting the...

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Coronavirus crisis: There is no way back to business as usual in the EU

What are the likely political and economic implications of the Covid-19 crisis for European states? Patrick Kaczmarczyk writes that the austerity measures imposed on Eurozone countries after the global financial crisis led to a surge of right wing and anti-EU parties across the continent. So far, these parties have gained strength, but have not yet come into power. If the EU were to go back to business as usual after the current crisis, this might quickly change – and the coronavirus may turn...

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