EU’s unity is being tested by COVID-19 outbreak, says GlobalData

The European Union needs more solidarity and coordinated actions to effectively respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Urte Jakimaviciute, MSc, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, commented: “Even though the EU has been implementing various measures to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, the bloc initially failed to show solidarity and a joint COVID-19 management approach. France and Germany, despite previously pledging to create an ever-closer union, were among the first EU nations to impose limits on the export of protective medical equipment, undermining the EU’s collective approach to deal with the crisis. Furthermore, the EU took some time to agree on a €500bn ($537bn) rescue package for European countries hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the bloc still remains divided on sharing out the outbreak costs by issuing coronabonds.”

While the EU’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak was characterized by individual member states taking individual actions, the European Commission is urging the bloc to pursue a coordinated exit strategy for lifting the lockdown.

Jakimaviciute continued: “With governments being under a huge pressure to mitigate the economic impact of the lockdown, restrictions have been relaxed in some countries such as Spain, Austria, Italy and Denmark. Nevertheless countries seem to be taking different approaches and strategies on how to manage the exit. For example, Spain has allowed some of construction and factory workers to get back to work, while Italy, despite allowing bookshops and stores selling children’s clothes to open, still keeps the factories closed.”

Despite some disagreements on the financial issues related to COVID-19, the EU seems to agree that moving towards mass testing of people is essential to successfully paving the way out of the COVID-19 outbreak. The EU officials are also turning to unprecedented surveillance measures such as digital tracing apps to fight the spread of COVID-19 and identify those at risk.

Jakimaviciute adds: “Responding to the challenges of COVID-19 requires a coordinated European approach. While to one extent or another, the EU countries recognize the importance of and implement measures of mass testing, the EU had to reiterate the need to adapt a pan-European COVID-19 app development approach after several nations went ahead with developing their own.”

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