So far, the corona crisis has given the impression that most European governments act alone, at different speeds and drastically. The more dramatic the virus crisis is, the more important the cohesion of the EU states becomes in dealing with the crisis.
It’s about saving lives and providing the necessary medical equipment. It begins these days with the admission of French corona patients in Baden-Wurttemberg and Italian patients in Saxony. That is concrete European solidarity. But the hardship on the Greek islands such as Lesbos is also clear: tens of thousands of people live here in confined spaces without access to clean water. We urgently need to take in more vulnerable people like children in Germany!
Saving human lives also means coordinating the procurement and production of tests, protective equipment, and respirators at a European level. In Germany, this can now be ordered by amending the Infection Protection Act. As a large industrial location, we have a special responsibility for the EU and beyond, because not only many EU member states have no such production capacities.
Helping people continues with care. Many people in Germany who are in need of care are now losing their Eastern European caregivers, partly because they shy away from border controls. The nursing association warns of a supply emergency from Easter. The border regulations, therefore, have to be continuously adapted, also due to the vital supply chains in the food sector.
Many countries are now taking government support measures. But soon the national measures in structurally weak countries like Italy, Greece or Spain, which had to save heavily on their health systems in the financial crisis, will reach their limits, and that is where the EU as crisis manager is in demand.