The Covid-19 pandemic is first and foremost a public health crisis with multiple ramifications for the whole world.
The European Union has faced criticism for its slow response to the pandemic, reinforcing debates about whether the partnership has a future. But attention would be better focussed on the practicalities of how the EU can deal with a public health disaster of this magnitude, at multiple levels, in coordination with each other and international efforts. And that has been happening.
In previous or ongoing crises, such as the global financial crash of 2008, the sovereign debt crisis, the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, Brexit or the rise of nationalism, there has been a sense that the European integration project no longer works. European integration is a long process of developing a shared identity, started after the second world war and now uniting 27 member states in the EU as well as associated and neighbouring states.
At the same time, when dealing with the migration crisis or even Brexit, there is a sense that nations are constantly pulling in different directions, reflecting national interests. The financial crash and its consequences caused bitter divisions among European states.
Throughout its 60-year history, the project of European unification has gone through multiple phases and crises. That is why there may…