Disinfo: The bureaucratic EU did not provide real help during the coronavirus epidemic

Summary

As always, the European Union got trapped in bureaucracy, giving instructions about the Coronavirus epidemic curves instead of providing real help.

Disproof

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, humanitarian aid, Brussels, 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.

see more

Eastern Partnership and the Three Seas Initiative are anti-Russian

The Three Seas Initiative is entirely anti-Russian – it cannot be analysed in separation from the “Eastern Partnership”, which is a military-political anti-Russian flank.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU Eastern Partnership and disinformation about the Three Seas Initiative.

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union (EU), its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The Eastern Partnership initiative is a mutually beneficial and constructive platform for countries in the region to build a closer relationship with the EU if they choose to do so. The EU does not demand any of its partners to make a choice between the EU or any other country. The Eastern Partnership stands for good neighbourly relations and respects the individual aspirations and ambitions of each partner country. Read more about the Eastern Partnership and its priorities here.

The West relied on the Malthusian theory during coronavirus

They (the United States, Britain, European and Scandinavian countries) relied on the Malthusian theory to solve economic crises (during the coronavirus pandemic), that is, by killing more unproductive citizens, the elderly, or sick people, believing that they mitigate later losses in spending on their health and social care.

Disproof

A  baseless claim that Europe is plotting a Malthusian conspiracy to reduce the global population by exploiting the coronavirus to sacrifice its elderly for economic reasons. This is a recurring disinformation narrative about the US and EU being purely interested in profit rather than protecting people from diseases. See here a similar case claiming that both EU and US put the profit before health.

In fact, since the start of the crisis, new protective measures have been implemented in both the EU and US, as well as other countries worldwide, that are designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in order to protect people at especially high risk and assure the provision of medical care and therapeutic products to the public. 

Three Seas Initiative is a tool of American hegemony in post-Soviet areas surrounding Russia

The idea of the Three Seas Initiative belongs to the USA from start to finish, but the costs of this project are paid by the members of the Initiative. The Three Seas Initiative is not a Polish idea – this American concept is realized in order to promote disintegration of existing European structures. With the help of this Initiative, the USA introduces another form of American hegemony to the post-Soviet areas surrounding Russia. The Three Seas Initiative is an economic-political element of the American anti-Russian ring. The Three Seas Initiative was supposed to be the Europe of the “second speed” – it will pay to the Americans even more for the so-called “gangster protection” and for American energy resources.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe, alleging that the United States fully controls the foreign policy of the EU member states, including Poland (these countries are often presented as the American “vassals”).

The statement that the Three Seas Initiative is an anti-Russian and anti-EU project fully controlled by the USA is a conspiracy theory. The Three Seas Initiative is a forum of 12 countries from Central and Eastern Europe launched in 2015. The main goal of this Initiative is to promote better connectivity among the Member States, with a particular focus on infrastructure and energy. The main projects discussed at the forums of the Three Seas Initiative are the Via CarpathiaBaltic-Adriatic CorridorVia BalticaRail Baltica and the LNG infrastructure in Poland and Croatia.