Disinfo: Amid the pandemic the idea of a united Europe has crashed

Summary

Idea of a united Europe has crashed. The idea of fraternal nations of Europe turned into the idea of each for its own.

NATO exercises to defend Europe have been cancelled, Sweden tries to remind that Russian threat is in its backyard – no one cares about it, Slovakia tried to buy masks from Ukraine, Germany bought them instead, UK asked its citizens abroad to stay there, as there is no one to bring them back.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the disintegration of the European Union.

The European Union is supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis, and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

To support scientific research into the COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47,5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks.

The EU has also created first ever stockpile of medical equipment. 

Read more about the EU's response here and here. 

There are also examples of EU Member States helping each other in times of crisis, for example German hospitals offering to treat critical coronavirus patients from France. 

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the U.S. Army has taken a number of precautionary measures to reduce the unnecessary spread of the disease, including scaling down the U.S.-led multinational Exercise 'Defender Europe 20'. However the Alliance’s essential work continues and NATO’s ability to conduct operations remains intact.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue189
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Slovakia, UK, Ukraine, Germany, Sweden
  • Keywords: coronavirus, EU
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COVID-2019 was created by the US in 2015

COVID-2019 was created by a US laboratory in 2015. A study published by researchers from the University of North Carolina and Wuhan Institute of Virology serves as proof.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no evidence given, based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about biological weapons and that the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus is man-made, in this case, made in the US.

COVID-19 comes from a family of viruses originating in animals that include other viruses such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading across the world.

EU is not publishing the coronavirus disinformation cases it accuses Russia of spreading

The European report points to a record “80 cases of Russian disinformation” that attacked the performance of national systems for monitoring and eliminating epidemics in Europe, according to the Financial Times. Likewise, the suspicions “published by Russia” about America’s role in the Corona issue can only be considered a campaign of misleading public opinion, as is understood from the report. However, a question arises here: Why have not all the 80 such cases been widely published, especially as Russia is “trying to spread the atmosphere of terror among European societies” and “spreading division” as the European Union claims? Do not such matters affect European national security in the eyes of Europeans?

It is always possible to invent anything when facts are not available. In this case the evidence is not necessary, but it is sufficient to put a “highly confidential” stamp and refer to high-level sources. Those who practice this will keep it a secret if they have nothing to offer. The reason is the absence of evidence and facts, that is, they have nothing to say … so simply.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying that Russian media had been involved in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus.

It is simply not true that the EU has not published the Russian media cases of disinformation. As of 19 March, our database has collected and published over 110 corona-related disinformation cases in the public EUvsDisinfo database since 22 January 2020. These messages are characteristic of the Kremlin’s well-established strategy of using disinformation to amplify divisions, sow distrust and chaos, and exacerbate crisis situations and issues of public concern.

Only authoritarian states and closed societies will be able to protect their populations from the coronavirus and from future pandemics

Globalism and the unipolar order are crumbling. In order to survive and cope with new challenges, nations must adopt a new model for the state, new forms of governance, and a new ideology. Nations must shift to an alternative, post-globalist, model of the state and society. The open society must become a closed society. Also necessary is an autoritarian state that exerts rigid centralised control over society, and a self-sufficient economic system. A rigid authoritarian state and closed society are necessary in order to protect a country’s population from the coronavirus and from future pandemic outbreaks.

Disproof

The article’s claims about the superiority of political authoritarianism and isolationist “closed societies” in preventing and controlling epidemics do not reflect reality. Authoritarian regimes, which tend to control and manipulate information and to limit the freedom of doctors and scientists to engage in international cooperation, are often an obstacle to the timely detection and containment of epidemic outbreaks.

A clear example is China’s deliberate cover-up of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The regime suppressed information about the virus and allowed it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks. The Chinese government censored and detained those doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of the coronavirus threat.

Furthermore, the real antidote to the coronavirus pandemic (and to future epidemic outbreaks) is not to revert to nationalist isolationism and “closed societies” but to develop a global response.

A coordinated, cross-border effort of the scientific and medical community to  understand the virus, create cures and treatments, and speedily disseminate a vaccine across national borders, will end the pandemic.

Read here a previous case  claiming that democracy and freedom prevent Europe from fighting the virus effectively.