Disinfo: The lack of solidarity against Covid-19 may cause the end of the EU

Summary

The lack of solidarity against Covid-19 may entail the end of political blocks like the European Union. European countries will suffer more than others like Russia, China or India due to the lack of solidarity of the north of the EU with the south. It is shocking to see Russian convoys helping Italy while Germany, France, the Netherlands or Austria didn’t move a finger to help their partners.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse.

One of the main pro-Kremlin narratives relating to the pandemic is that the EU is failing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and, as a result, is disintegrating, together with the border-free Schengen area. In particular, this narrative of failure and lack of EU solidarity is trending after the delivery of Russian aid to Italy.

This narrative also aims to pit EU member states against each other in an attempt to undermine European solidarity, another recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation tactic.

There is no evidence to support the claim that the pandemic is resulting in the death or obsolescence of the EU. The European Commission is coordinating a common European response to the COVID-19 crisis and is supporting Member States in tackling the pandemic and in mitigating its economic consequences.

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's 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.

The Commission is further increasing its response by proposing to set up a €100 billion solidarity instrument to help workers keep their incomes and businesses stay afloat, called SURE. It is also proposing to redirect all available structural funds to the response to the coronavirus. To support scientific research into 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 also created the first ever stockpile of medical equipment.

EU Member States are helping each other in this crisis; for example, German hospitals have offered to treat critical coronavirus patients from France as well as taking in patients from Italy and the Czech Republic has sent masks to Italy.

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

Read similar cases claiming that the EU has collapsed as a result of the pandemic that the coronavirus epidemic marks the beginning of an era of crisis for pan-European identity and solidarity and that the COVID outbreak means the end of Europe.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, EU, EU disintegration

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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There is no COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus is just like the flu

We don’t know how many fake messages there are these days. There are Italian doctors who have spread information about the coronavirus on the internet, and there is a strong suspicion that what they say is not true. If they took the test away, life would be the same. There would be nothing here at all. There would be no evidence of increased mortality or morbidity or sickness. There is nothing going on at all at the moment.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation attempt to downplay the severity and urgency of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Pro-Kremlin media have spread a variety of false claims to push this message, for example that coronavirus mortality figures are insignificant, that COVID-19 is fake and a political move to install hegemony, and that the virus is safe.

The novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, belongs to a family of viruses originating in animals that include others such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the city of Wuhan in central China in late 2019 and has been rapidly spreading across the world, with cases being reported in 200 countries, territories and areas. The number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed four million globally with over 280,000 deaths as of 11 May 2020.

Russia invented a cure for coronavirus

Russia introduced a drug for the treatment of a new type of coronavirus. The drug is based on the antimalarial drug mefloquine and is also developing an effective and safe system of prevention against coronavirus.

Disproof

This is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus. According to WHO, to date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The anti-malarial drug mefloquine has been considered as a drug against a new type of coronavirus in several countries. The tests were carried out, for example, by China or France. However, its efficacy has not been verified and extensive clinical trials would have to be carried out for general use. A French medicine watchdog ANSM even has warned of the dangerous side effects of malaria drugs being used against the novel coronavirus due to some crucial side effects that appeared at several patients who used them for self-medication.

The European project is dead, EU is incapable of handling the coronavirus crisis

Europe does nothing. A task force was created, composed of five EU commissioners. A programme to buy up assets in the market was increased by 120 billion euros. How can this help people who are sick? We see that the EU project has failed completely. The European Union is not capable of fighting anything. We have already forgotten about it. We do not say “news from Europe”, we say “news from Italy”, “news from Spain”, “news from Germany”. Europe was totally unprepared. The population of Europe does not need the EU.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse.

One of the main pro-Kremlin narratives relating to the pandemic is that the EU is failing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and, as a result, is disintegrating, together with the border-free Schengen area. In particular, this narrative of failure and lack of EU solidarity is trending after the delivery of Russian aid to Italy.