COVID killed Europe

COVID has wrecked social, economic and political havoc and caused untold deaths but the EU might just be added to its list of victims


By Kevin-James Fenech

Kevin is the founder and owner of JOB Search - and FENCI Consulting

With the UK looking smug after its recent EU divorce, the EU’s embarrassing rumpus with Astrazenca and the vaccine supply fiasco, the EU looks rudderless and a complete shambles.

Sadly, I feel that the pandemic has gotten the worse out of the European Union. I mean export bans, a botched central EU procurement system, vaccine supply shortages, suspension of AstraZeneca but reversal of such decision within 3 days, EU national leaders’ publicly criticising Ursula von der Leyen, attacks on Malta for allegedly having more vaccines than it should and the litany of embarrassing failures goes on and on, including a 3rd Lockdown.

In the normal course of affairs, it was easy to criticise the EU. Overly bureaucratic, squandering of EU funds and politically weak on the international fora but in times of a crisis, one would have expected the EU to shine; to show everyone how important the Union actually is (we are stronger together than apart). Sadly, it has to date failed miserably.

The brutal Hobbesian truth is that European ideals and aspirations are not set in stone. EU governments have shown us throughout this pandemic that selfish national interests comes first and the bureaucrats in Brussels are ineffective and lack real decision making powers. I mean right now who actually runs the EU? Who takes the big decisions?

To add insult to injury, the UK’s exist from the Union coincided with a successful vaccine roll out which sees Great Britain coming out of the COVID nightmare first. The UK has shown the world that ultimately it was right to lose faith in the EU federalist project and that it was better off taking control of its own destiny.

It is a real shame since in theory, the concept of a European Union is plausible to say the least, especially for a country like Malta but the the more the EU makes a mess of this pandemic, the more Europeans pontificate Malta about democracy and rule of law and the more their true intentions become known especially regarding tax harmonisation, the hard real truth starts to emerge which makes one wonder if Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (none of them EU members) have a better deal than full-member Malta?

Whilst the fundamental problems of the EU are based on long term issues, I wonder if the COVID19 pandemic is the trigger cause that will force a major overhaul of membership rights, obligations and membership itself. The UK’s BREXIST has long been coming, I would say every since the TEU when John Major was the UK’s PM way back in the early 1990s but COVID19 is a reality we are all living now. The pandemic has shown everyone how weak the EU actually is and how it lacks real political leadership.

The reason for this perhaps is that the EU as a European Economic Community made sense to all members but as political dreams of a United States of Europe started to gain traction and the more countries joined which watered down the original mission, the more likely it became for the EU project to fail ultimately.

I remember François Mitterrand talking of a Europe of ‘concentric circles’ circa 30+ years ago. The idea was that different European countries could assume different levels of integration and countries forming part of the inner core would be the most integrated; in so doing you keep every happy. So France and Germany would presumably form part of the inner core whilst the UK et al would form part of the outer most core. The idea at the time did not take-off but maybe if it had the UK would still be part of Europe albeit in the outer most circle of integration.

According to a survey, commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) think tank about two years ago, the majority of Europeans expect the EU to end in twenty-years time and the list of countries thinking EU disintegration is 10-20 years away includes EU heavy-weights such as France, Germany and Italy.

I therefore think Brexit constitutes a dramatic failure for Europe but COVID poses to be the killer blow since the pandemic is getting the worse out of the Brussels bureaucrats and show casing how/why the UK was perhaps correct to see the EU project as ultimately unworkable.

COVID has wrecked social, economic and political havoc and caused untold deaths but the EU might just be added to its list of victims. I hope the EU get’s its act together fast and recovers from all this since otherwise we all stand to lose.

More in People