The cohesion imperative
At the start of 2021, we already know that European cohesion will be put to an unprecedented test. But if we remain focused, this crisis has the chance of being the one that makes Europe, instead of breaking it, writes Pawel Zerka. (…)
Meanwhile, slower vaccination will lead to longer lockdowns and higher costs for European economies.
Plenty of things can go wrong. Violent anti-curfew protests in the Netherlands are only a minor warning that the patience of European citizens has its limits. After all they have endured in 2020, they might find it hard to wait many months more for a comeback to the pre-crisis normality. (…)
Currently, the COVID-19 crisis poses a triple challenge to European cohesion:
In the south, the economic collapse can translate into a growing frustration among populations, and their scepticism about the European project.
In some countries of the east, health emergency serves as an alibi for a further crackdown on civic liberties.
Meanwhile, citizens and governments in the north could lose patience with less affluent member states, seeing them as constantly needing bailouts or suffering from corruption and weak rule of law. They could prefer an integration in narrower circles.
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(DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.)
Por: Pawel Zerka
Fonte: EurActiv, em 16 de Fevereiro de 2021