by N. Peter Kramer
It is clear, in times of emergency people look to their national government, which has financial, organisational and emotional strengths that supra-national organisations and institutions are lacking. National governments all over the world are closing their national borders to contain the Corona virus; not only, for instance, between Canada and the US, but also between some memberstates in the European Union. Each memberstate’s government has introduced its own curfews and restrictions after seeing what happened in Italy. Governments are opening their purse strings to support in their country those who have lost their jobs or been forced into temporary leave. Financial aid for businesses is largely coming from the national budgets. The pandemic has turned into a national pursuit.
The dramatic situation is revealing the fragility of global supply chains. It is hard to believe that developed nations will continue to accept a situation in which they have to import most of their vital medical supplies. The pandemic is reinforcing political trends that were already existing before the Corona crisis. In particular the localisation of production, the demand for more protectionism and tougher frontier controls.
And where is the EU? When Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, gave an emergency address to her nation, she did not mention the EU once. Neither did French President Emmanuel Macron in his martial (‘’It is war!”) television show, while a more integrated EU was one of his campaign slogans in 2017. Where was the famous European solidarity when Italy asked urgently for help and none of the memberstates responded? What happened was, that Russia and China were the ones supplying medical assistance to Italy. The two big enemies of the EU, if you like to believe the Eurocrats (and their sympathising media) in Brussels.