It's possible that the European Union won't survive COVID-19

In 2009, the European debt crisis revealed that the European Union, unlike the United States, is not a united republic composed of somewhat independent nation-states.  Instead, it was, as it had been since Roman times, a collection of warring tribes that occasionally made common cause.  Somehow, though, the E.U. stuck together.

In 2015, when Angela Merkel opened the E.U. to floods of Muslim refugees from the Middle East and Africa, the E.U. took another hit to its unity.  The core Western nations reluctantly accommodated the onslaught, but the Central European countries, remembering centuries of Islamic rule, ignored the E.U.'s open border mandates and closed their borders to the Muslim invaders.

In 2016, British citizens had enough and voted to pull out of the E.U.  On January 31, 2020, even as COVID-19 was following the path the migrants paved in 2015, Britain finally left the E.U.  The E.U. bureaucrats in Brussels sneered that Britain would never recover.

Now, in April 2020, it looks as if it's the E.U. that won't recover.  COVID-19 is killing it.

Politico has published an article detailing the myriad missteps by the individual European nations and the E.U. itself in response to COVID-19's spread through the continent.

Despite trying to cast some blame on Trump for closing America to European flights, it's evident from the article that the problem lies deep within the E.U. itself.  It's being eaten alive because the individual nations will cling to their national interests and because the E.U. bureaucracy is incapable of reacting quickly to a rapidly changing situation.

The article has too many details to yield to an easy summary, but the highlights are clear: in the beginning, the E.U. was focused on climate change and the Middle East.  As the virus ramped up, the various ministers were much more concerned with events in their own countries than in the E.U. as a whole.  In this regard, America has a tremendous advantage, which is an executive who is dedicated to the nation's welfare rather than the welfare of any individual state.

The authors say part of the problem in some countries (i.e., Germany, Italy, and Spain) was that their health care systems — all of which are socialized — were decentralized, with control at the regional level.  In other words, these countries had the worst of all worlds: the local systems weren't talking to each other, and, as is the case for all socialized systems, they were still proceeding in the usual way: slowly and with the rationing that is inevitable with socialized medicine.

Additionally, the politicians who rotate through the E.U. wanted to do spectacular things and were uninterested in the nitty-gritty of disease control.  More than that, the politicians reflected strong national biases and couldn't ignore the crises within their borders.  Again, unlike our federal system, which is headed by a dedicated president, there was no single leader whose focus was the entire E.U.

While the ministers were fussing about African testing capacities, COVID-19 was spreading.  Because nobody was taking COVID-19 seriously, carnival week in February went ahead as usual, with people traveling widely throughout Europe, carrying the disease with them.  Meanwhile, as carnival died down, the situation on the border between Greece and Turkey distracted the E.U. and the individual European nations, for Erdoğan had announced that he would unleash onto the E.U. the Middle Eastern migrants in Turkey.

In the beginning of March, perhaps in response to the E.U.'s disorganization and perhaps in response to age-old instincts, the various E.U. countries began to act as standalone nations rather than parts of a federation.  France (of course) was the first to announce that nobody was getting its personal protective equipment.  Other nations followed suit.

In Spain, the leftist government encouraged people to turn out for the Women's Day march, a crowded, chaotic event.  Many in the Spanish government got COVID-19 there.  When things went sour in Italy, none of the E.U. nations would help, showing again a decided lack of unity for a union.  And now that Italy and Spain are seeking affordable financial support, the rich E.U. nations are rejecting their pleas.

American leftists used to assure Americans that the E.U. was the future.  It had everything: sophisticated European culture, advanced wokeness, and socialized medicine and industries.  What they forgot was that, despite being a coherent continent, Europe was never a coherent culture.  This divisiveness grew as the E.U. kept adding member-states from outside Western Europe's geographic and cultural core.

Between the E.U.'s inevitable descent into being the usual moribund bureaucracy and the fact that ancient nations turn inward when threatened, the E.U.'s break-up is beginning to seem inevitable.

Here are three other excellent articles that focus on the E.U. situation:

Top E.U. Coronavirus Scientist Resigns, Saying He Has 'Lost Faith in the System Itself'

European Disunion: Italy's PM Says 'Risk is Real' the Coronavirus Could Break Up the E.U.

Italy and the Wuhan virus — the real story — from an Italian writer

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