DISINFO: The bureaucratic EU did not provide real help during the coronavirus epidemic
As always, the European Union got trapped in bureaucracy, giving instructions about the Coronavirus epidemic curves instead of providing real help.
This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse and lack of effective EU reaction to the epidemic. 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. Coronavirus did challenge EU's crisis response mechanisms. 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 EU also created the first-ever stockpile of medical equipment. Read more on EU response to the COVID-19 outbreak here and here. As for Italy, there are numerous examples of solidarity among the EU and the individual Member States. 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. On March 18th, the European Union also received a Chinese aid package, including masks and 50,000 testing kits that were fully allocated to Italy, as Rome faced the most urgent needs among member states in the coronavirus crisis. On March 13th, the European Union proposed a Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, envisaging EUR 835 million for Italy. On March 26th, the European Parliament unanimously approved the initiative. Furthermore, 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 continues to rise. As part of the programme, investors will purchase Italian securities to help the country counter the serious risks of the coronavirus. The disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claims that the Eastern Partnership and Three Seas Initiative are anti-Russian. 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.