COVID19: Lessons form the 'euro crisis'

Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Fabian Zuleeg

EPC Discussion Paper

Brussels 04/2020

Download available here

As the EU – and the world beyond – continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Fabian Zuleeg look back at a previous time of intense pressure and discord in the Union, the euro crisis, to glean valuable lessons and traps to avoid.

They argue that the EU cannot afford to stall the process of unconditional solidarity any further. The legitimacy of the Union is at stake. The 2010-2015 euro crisis already highlighted the implications of a highly interdependent Union; the importance of acting quickly, forcefully and boldly; and the need to roll out decisive joint action and an effective European strategy.

Emmanouilidis and Zuleeg apply these lessons to today's health crisis to remind European, national and regional leaders that we stand together, and fall together. Unconditional solidarity guided by the principle of enlightened self-interest will be the Union's answer to the crisis.

Secondly, the EU should act early and forcefully if they are to get ahead of the curve. The Union should thus jointly set up and finance a common COVID-19 recovery and growth fund, and then implement a coordinated European 'exit management strategy'. Rather than concentrating on one particular instrument, the EU institutions should assemble a convincing package deal that is explicitly supported by member states.

Finally, all EU leaders must recognise that absolutist positions will undermine the search for an effective European strategy to manage and eventually overcome the COVID-19 crisis. Disunity, fragmentation and distrust will result in failure – not only for the crisis but also for the foundation of the Union itself.

Download of paper available here

Latest publications

Participatory democracy at the EU level: How to break the invisible ceiling?
Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Corina Stratulat, Observatory Report, EPC & EU Democracy Reform Observatory 03/2024

Europawahl 2024 – was für die EU und Deutschland auf dem Spiel steht
Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Johannes Greubel, Brussels 01/2024

Turning Fear Into Hope
Herman Van Rompuy | Fabian Zuleeg | Janis A. Emmanouilidis | Jacki Davis, EPC 11/2022

Overcoming the ambition-unity dilemma
Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Fabian Zuleeg, Brussels 10/2022

The Future is Now – What next after the Conference on the Future of Europe?
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Taking Stock, Moving Forward: Reflections Following the Conference on the Future of Europe, Hanns Seidel Foundation & ELIAMEP, Athens 08/2022

Europe’s moment of truth: United by adversity?
Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Fabian Zuleeg, Brussels 07/2022

The von der Leyen European Commission at midterm: Same priorities, different reality
Corina Stratulat, Johannes Greubel, Perle Petit, Danielle Brady, Silvia Carta, Simon Dekeyrel, Francesco De Angelis, Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Melanie Fessler, Emily Fitzpatrick, Andrea García Rodríguez, Tommaso Grossi, Annika Hedberg, Elizabeth Kuiper, Marta Mucznik, Laura Rayner, Stefan Sipka, Brussels 06/2022

Adding Ambition to Europe's Unity
Herman Van Rompuy and Brigid Laffan et al., Project Syndicate, Brussels 06/2022

Under Construction: Citizen Participation in the European Union
Stefan Bloch, Paul Butcher, Maarten de Groot, Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Dominik Hierlemann, Corina Stratulat, Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung / Gütersloh 05/2022

After the Conference on the Future of Europe – Moving into a new era
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Johannes Greubel, Georg E. Riekeles and Corina Stratulat, Brussels 05/2022