The EU’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis with a focus on Africa and ENP

3. Jun 2020

Lessons (to be) learnt from living with Covid-19 (#11)

With the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing intense competition between global players as to who can best contain the crisis and who is a reliable international partner in the global fight against the coronavirus and the economic and social consequences it causes. The EU appears to have been disqualified in that game of rivalry right from the start due to its lack of internal coordination and solidarity. After a moment of shock, however, the EU now seems to have gathered steam in terms of globally engaging against the coronavirus crisis and could outpace its main competitors such as China and Russia. Now, more than two months after the crisis started to severely hit also the EU with Italy as the first member state in its epicentre, there is accumulating evidence to prove this fact: Increasing investments in research and development, an active science diplomacy and fast, but also sustainable reactions in the field of development cooperation. However, existing resources in development cooperation do not suffice to overcome the full scale of this global crisis, which demands more than health supply and economic aid. More farsighted approaches, that forward the long-term goals for social, ecological and ecomic recovery after the crisis, and an improved information policy with stronger public relations will be necessary for the EU so that it can reliably maintain its position as the most important and partnership-oriented partner for Africa and its Eastern neighbourhood.

Read the full policy brief, which was elaborated for the Austrian Society for European Politics here. You can also download the pdf from there.

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