Posted on Apr 18, 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that the EU is facing a "moment of truth", and unless it is able to come up with a unified solution, he warns, "the populists will win... Today, tomorrow, the day after, in Italy, in Spain, perhaps in France and elsewhere".
"It's obvious because people will say, 'What is this great journey that [the EU] are offering? These people won't protect you in a crisis, nor in its aftermath, they have no solidarity with you,'" he told Britain's Financial Times.
"'When immigrants arrive in your country, they tell you to keep them. When you have an epidemic, they tell you to deal with it."
There remains the thorny issue of how the EU will fund any response. Brexit, an existential crisis that somewhat scopophobic EU leaders appeared reluctant to look in the eye, has left the bloc with a massive shortfall, even before the cost of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as its aftermath, which has not even been discussed as yet.
Against this backdrop the EU institutions have failed to agree the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-27, meaning that whilst there are platitudes, promises of stockpiles of protective equipment and ventilators, and votes in favour of half-trillion euro support packages, there is, as yet, no budget for any of this.
Macron's words echo the of Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who stated last week “If we do not seize the opportunity to put new life into the European project, the risk of failure is real".
Macron stated his belief that the world is reaching the end of the cycle of "globalisation" - something that will, ironically, resonate with the populists - adding that we need to "invent something new" because "that is all we can do."
- Giuseppe Conte: “If we do not seize the opportunity to put new life into the European project, the risk of failure is real,”
- Bruno Le Maire: “Shame on you, shame on Europe. Stop this clownesque show.”
- Slow EU response to Italian crisis draws criticism as death toll continues to rise.
- Von der Leyen to announce EU "stimulus package" to aid post-virus recovery.
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