Brief on COVID-19: Do Czechs Want a Stronger EU or a Convenient Scapegoat ?

In his brief, our Christian Kvorning Lassen outlines the image of the European Union's actions during the COVID-19 outbreak, which are often misinterpreted or forgotten by Member States, with a focus on the Czech Republic.

  • As a preface, it must be noted that this is not intended to be a critique of the Czech COVID-19 measures, which have been timely and so far reasonably efficient, nor is it an absolution of EU’s actions during the crisis. The old adage of “everything you do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything you did will seem inadequate afterwards” holds as much true to the EU as it does to Member States. However, once the crisis ends, the political struggle for the future of Europe and European democracy will erupt, which in turn will affect all citizens.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is already shaping up to become a deeper crisis of democracy, and the European Union. Some V4 leaders were swift to suggest sacrificing the European Green Deal and thereby future generations’ existential living conditions in the name of short-term economic recovery. Domestically, V4 political elites show no qualms about deceiving the public by claiming credit at home for EU initiatives or misrepresenting them, while at the same time decrying the EU as inactive and dysfunctional, conveniently forgetting to mention the numerous initiatives that the EU is launching within its competencies.

When China or Russia provide aid, appreciated as it rightfully should be, there is a failure to mention that this help is not borne out of altruism. Much of the equipment is paid for and not given. Much of the equipment is faulty and of poor standard. This has also been the case in the Czech Republic. Shipments of medical equipment regularly “disappear” without reimbursement, causing hospitals and nations to lose money as the Chinese claim no responsibility despite selling the equipment to a higher bidder without reimbursing the original buyer. Russia has launched a disinformation campaign to sow discord within the EU. There is a failure to highlight that the Covid-19 outbreak was exacerbated by initial Chinese efforts to suppress news and containment efforts through, for instance, prosecution of medical professionals. Proper awareness has not been raised to the fact that the exclusion of Taiwan from the WHO due to China’s political aspirations could have saved lives.

You can read the full brief using the PDF button on the right side of this page.

#coronavirus #European Union #EU #COVID-19

Christian Kvorning Lassen
Deputy Director & Head of Research

Expertise: Migration/European migration crisis, EU foreign policy, Scandinavian politics, populism, EU enlargement policy

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