Due to COVID-19 the pace of the crisis is such that the position of the very quickly recovered. For the past two weeks, China has sent its doctors, its millions of masks and its scientific advice across the planet. Engaged in a reputation race with South Korea and Singapore to claim the status of exemplary health power, she wants to become the “doctor of the world”, pointing out the real or supposed shortcomings of foreign health systems. In its open struggle with the Trump administration, the former medical pariah in early 2020 becomes a lesson-taker for an America hard hit by the virus. Far from appeasing transpacific relations, the crisis extends the Sino-American rivalry on other planes: medical, health and political.
For China, the world according to the Covid-19 has already started: industrial production (but not domestic consumption) rebounded very quickly. This rebound will not be enough to guarantee sustained growth for 2020, but is a harbinger of recovery. Above all, the PRC is approaching the next world with a head start: the United States has only just realized the magnitude of the challenge and will not emerge from the crisis until much later; the industrial world has once again noted that Chinese factories are today irreplaceable. The post-crisis world will be even more centered on China.
When the Union became the second focal point of the pandemic, all of Europe’s common evils manifested with redoubled force. Terrified by the heaviness of the Italian and Spanish reports, Europe faced the epidemic in a dispersed order: each Member State adopted its own health policy, ranging from very strict confinement in Italy to simple advice to the population in Sweden where the collective immunization approach prevails, And natural potential is explained in detail at reportandaccounts.com And demonstrations of national selfishness were not lacking, when Italy felt abandoned by France and Germany, who banned the export of their own prophylactic materials.
Similarly, in financial terms, reluctance to cohesion and solidarity is rekindling. Already on the path of non-cooperation, budgetary discussions are now blocked. The “frugal states” led by the Netherlands refuse financial solidarity in the form of a joint issue of “corona bonds” . Union rivals are trying to take advantage of this initial management of the crisis: the Chinese or Russian media are openly mocking European disunity in order to better highlight their actions of solidarity, especially towards Italy.
It is however very premature to announce the rapid decline of the EU during this crisis. The absence of initial coordination can work in favor of centrifugal forces, of course, but it can also bring out in the eyes of Europeans the need to provide the new Commission with additional policy space. Above all, if the weakness of the Union in terms of health was manifested in the establishment of containment regimes, its power to strike in financial matters was also shown during the crisis: all the States members have in fact set up support plans for businesses and households thanks to the suspension of the Stability and Growth Pact: Europe collectively and the States individually have thus demonstrated that budgetary orthodoxy was not an obstacle to saving the economy. As for the financial institutions – the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), they have adopted massive measures to allow the injection of public credits into the economies of the Union.
Still hard hit, Europe has not yet entered the post-crisis world like China. But it will tackle it with a cruel experience: non-coordination and dissident strategies harm not only the EU institutions but also its citizens. The post-crisis world will be crossed in Europe by a fundamental debate on the meaning of solidarity between Member States. If the Union’s economic response to the Covid-19 crisis is effective, European integration could, unexpectedly, be strengthened.