Disinfo: An EU leadership crisis was revealed in combating coronavirus

Summary

There is a leadership crisis that has become evident in light of the absence of unity of forces and efforts in combating the disease (coronavirus), among them the European Union … all of which formed discouraged state models in the face of the disease.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged disintegration and a speculative claim about EU leaving countries to fight the virus by themselves.

The European Commission is coordinating a common European response to the COVID-19 crisis and is supporting the Member States in tackling the pandemic and in mitigating its economic consequences, check here to follow up the progress of support between the EU institutions and the 27 member states.

The COVID-19 outbreak constituted a serious challenge to Europe's readiness for a crisis. The President of the European Commission has apologised for the slow response on behalf of the Union. At the same time, the European Commission has approved a €50 million Italian aid scheme to support the production and supply of medical devices, as well as to help Italy provide the necessary medical treatment to those infected.

On 13 March, the EU proposed a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, envisaging EUR 835 million for Italy. On 26 March, the European Parliament unanimously approved the initiative.

The European Central Bank announced a 750 billion euro ($820 billion) asset purchase programme in an effort to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll in Europe continued to rise. As part of the programme, investors will purchase Italian securities to help the country counter the serious risks of the coronavirus.

On 26 April Economy Commissioner, Paolo Gentiloni said that a recovery fund to help EU countries weather the coronavirus’ economic impact should be worth €1.5 trillion and be available by mid-September.

Furthermore, NATO has also been doing a lot to assist all its member states in the fight against COVID-19. This includes facilitating the airlift of crucial medical supplies and equipment, matching requests for support with offers from allies and partners, setting up field hospitals. Many Allies, including the Czech Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain have benefited from this support.

The coordination and delivery of urgently needed medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment, respirators and test kits, is organised by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) following requests by Allies and partner countries.

For example, in response to Spain and Italy’s requests for assistance made through the EADRCC, the Czech Republic bilaterally provided both countries with medical supplies, including 10,000 protective medical suits each. Through the same mechanism, Turkey provided Italy and Spain with medical supplies such as masks, personal protection equipment and disinfectants.

Read similar cases claiming that Italy is without help from "hypocritical EU" and that the EU left Italy face to face with an invisible and terrible enemy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 204
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/06/2020
  • Country: EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Euro-scepticism, humanitarian aid, EU disintegration, European Union

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Western revisionism targets Putin

The historical revisionism orchestrated by the West concerning World War II is aiming to damage the image of Russia and of Vladimir Putin personally. Western efforts to rewrite the history of the war – like the 2019 European Parliament resolution which holds the USSR responsible for the start of World War II – are “Russophobic” and aim to discredit Russia’s President.

Disproof

This is part of sustained Kremlin’s campaign on historical revisionism on World War II in order to boost its legitimacy and deny the USSR’s responsibility in the outbreak of the conflict.

The European Parliament resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe stressed the fact that WWII was an immediate result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The resolution is aimed at the promotion of historical remembrance about WWII and condemnation of totalitarian ideologies.

NATO’s politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia

NATO’s politicians use Defender Europe 2020 as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia.

NATO is demonstrating its willingness to drive an opponent from the alliance territory if it enters, […]. In addition, troops involved in the manoeuvre (including those from the Czech Republic and Lithuania) will receive instruction in the use of American military technology, which will be offered for sale to NATO countries. (…) Part of this story is also that all the Baltic Sea countries are entitled to military manoeuvres in the region. However, NATO manoeuvres have been shifting more and more towards Russian borders for years. Alliance politicians use the exercises as an opportunity to escalate tensions with Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that NATO threatens or encircles Russia and that the US-led military exercise Defender Europe 2020 is directed against Russia.

NATO does not aim to escalate relations with Russia. Neither Defender Europe 2020 nor other NATO military exercises are directed against Russia.

Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas

Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and continues the war in Donbas.

Whatever is said in NATO about this decision (to give Ukraine the status of a NATO partner with expanded capabilities), the political background is obvious – especially under today’s conditions, where Kyiv openly sabotages the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements. (…) Kyiv is continuing the war in Donbas. This decision is no different from a deliberate promotion of this destructive course by the Ukrainian authorities. With ever new dividends the NATO states are in fact showing that they are not interested in the settlement of the inner-Ukrainian conflict.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Ukraine refuses to implement the Minsk agreements and that the war in Ukraine is an internal Ukrainian conflict.

Ukraine has never claimed that it does not want to implement the Minsk agreements. The implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Ukrainian side proposed to hold the negotiations conducted by the Trilateral Contact Group in a video format.