Coronavirus has tested the resilience of Western democracies and above all of European solidarity. They both proved to be hollow. The critical point was the coronavirus outbreak in Italy which was left helpless by its European partners. Czechia seized a cargo of Chinese medical gear destined for Italy, Spain turned against Italy, and Germany preferred to close its borders. European inaction was also manifested by the comments made by Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, who accused the Europeans for leaving his country helpless.
The spread of coronavirus in Europe led to the absence of words about European integration and cooperation and replaced it with a language of sovereignty, state and national security. Closed border policies replaced the open border policies that prevailed among the European Union countries as a result of the European integration system. There is no longer any importance to the Schengen system that prevails among European countries, which resulted in a major blow to the liberal ideology, with its classic and new forms, based on freedom of movement and trade, and the removal of obstacles and border restrictions, of which the European Union is one of the most important applied models. Germany and France did not agree to grant Italy and Spain urgent aid to stop the epidemic.
A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that is consistent with the disinformation message that the Schengen zone has collapsed and more broadly, with the disinformation narrative that the EU is collapsing as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The current situation is an example of how indispensable Schengen is to the European economy and way of life, and not just for Italy. In the current exceptional situation, many EU Member States introduced temporary border controls to slow the spread of coronavirus, which adhere to theSchengen border code, but the EU Commission is ensuring that EU-wide supply chains continue to operate and that flow of goods and key services continues around the clock. The introduction of‘green lanes’ will allow all freight vehicles to cross internal Schengen borders within 15 minutes. Furthermore, 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. Regarding the current Coronavirus crisis, European leaders said they would spend hundreds of billions of euros to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from provoking a deep recession or financial crisis. European Commission presidentUrsula von der Leyen said that the European Union would allocate up to 100 billion euros ($109.62 billion) to the hardest-hit countries, starting with Italy, to help cover the cost of lost wages and to preserve jobs. The EU has also createdthe first-ever stockpile of medical equipment, while German hospitals took Italian patients, and masks were being sent to Italian doctors from France and Austriaand much more. Read more about theEU's response here andhere. For similar cases, seehere,here, andhere.