The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing and Exacerbating the EU’s Fissures

The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing and Exacerbating the EU’s Fissures
A masked couple walks on the empty Trocadero next to the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, March 17, 2020 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Europe is now the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. The continent has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, outside China. In response to the outbreak, European Union leaders held an emergency summit via video conference this week, agreeing to temporarily close all external borders to non-essential travel.

COVID-19 is clearly the most urgent of the many issues facing EU leaders, but it is not the only one. The Brexit process with the U.K., a migration crisis on Greece’s border with Turkey, and an inability to come to terms on a budget are just some of the other issues that have recently dogged the European Commission’s leadership.

For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, Heather Conley joins WPR’s Elliot Waldman for a conversation about the EU’s response to COVID-19 and how the virus is adding to the many challenges facing Brussels. Conley is senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
The Economic Costs of Containing the Coronavirus Pandemic
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Rewritten the Script for a Global Crisis
Can von der Leyen Tackle the EU’s Internal Divisions and External Crises?
Will the Model of an Interconnected World Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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