Coronavirus pandemic may lead to EU dissension

The current coronavirus pandemic has forced the EU members to take off the masks, thus proving that no European solidarity exists and "each is for himself", RISS expert Igor Pshenichnikov said. He sees certain risks the European Union may lose its previous shape once and for all or cease to exist altogether.

"The leaders of the EU countries on March 26 will hold a video conference to discuss what the EU should do amid the spread of the coronavirus. A similar summit that took place days ago indicated that the collapse of an united Europe is an accomplished fact. It has turned out there is no European solidarity and in Europe each is for himself," Pshenichnikov recalled.

He stressed that inside the EU there was a glaring divergence of opinion regarding the pandemic. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has come out for a common coordinated fiscal policy that might ease the economic effects of the crisis the pandemic will entail. France, he said, believes that each individual country will be unable to provide an adequate response to the effects of the economic crisis on its own. Macron urged a coordinated plan for struggle against numerous effects of an economic crisis that may last indefinitely long," he said.

In the meantime, Pshenichnikov said, Germany has opposed the measures proposed by France.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel leads the countries that suspect France and its supporters are aiming to shake loose the fiscal discipline and redistribution the flows of budget resources from the EU’s richer countries in favor of the poorer ones," Pshenichnkov said. "It is pretty clear that the EU’s wealthy states have no intention of displaying solidarity with the coronavirus-affected countries like Italy. Moreover, not a single EU country has provided any assistance to Italy yet. Only China did that. The pandemic has exposed the real worth of the European Union and its common European values."

"After the global recovery from the coronavirus the European Union may emerge in a new, shattered shape, if it is destined to survive in its current disguise at all. The pandemic may bring about total disorder and confusion in the EU," he warned. In the meantime, the EU’s collapse might play into the hands of the United States and its President Donald Trump, who sees the EU and incidentally China, as the main trading and economic adversaries."

An outbreak of the novel coronavirus-related disease in central China late last year has spread to most. The World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, more than 320,000 people have contracted the virus around the world. The disease has claimed 14,000 lives.

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