What did the COVID-19 pandemic inform us about disaster administration? – Parenting Pointers

The EU responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with an unprecedented set of measures, together with its Subsequent Technology EU restoration bundle. Gianmarco Fifi examines what the EU’s response can inform us about disaster administration.


Students of political economic system have typically seen crises as intervals throughout which policymakers be taught from earlier errors and adapt insurance policies accordingly. The European response to the COVID-19 pandemic represents an fascinating instance of such reasoning.

Each the educational literature and the broader public debate appear to agree that the administration of the pandemic by the EU was prompter and extra profitable in comparison with what had occurred throughout earlier crises. This evaluation has been justified primarily by the truth that solidarity between member states prevailed versus the strict conditionality that had characterised the post-Eurozone disaster interval.

Particularly, the Subsequent Technology EU initiative launched to foster the restoration is seen as a immediate and apt response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. However, little consideration has been devoted to the course in the direction of which Subsequent Technology EU funds are allotted.

The symmetry of the crisis-shock explains the insurance coverage mechanisms put in place throughout essentially the most extreme interval of COVID-19 unfold (for example by means of the SURE programme geared toward decreasing the results of unemployment as a result of enterprise closures) and gives insights on the long-term dedication to redistribute in favour of the nations hardest hit, insuring them towards funds dangers. However, this doesn’t give us an equally easy interpretation of the spending-focus of Subsequent Technology EU (particularly, the funds devoted to the inexperienced and digital transition).

In a brand new studyI hint the event of EU concepts between the Eurozone disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic. I spotlight how Subsequent Technology EU, fairly than appearing as a response to a particular disaster interval, was the results of pre-conceived priorities surrounding the necessity to foster local weather insurance policies. On the theoretical stage, I argue that exogenous shocks (crises that aren’t simply related to any institutional deficiency) have a tendency to go away policymakers leeway to bolster their earlier commitments.

The EU Inexperienced Deal between the Eurozone disaster and the pandemic

The Eurozone disaster of 2010 was tackled by means of the “ethical hazard paradigm”, in response to which member states have been deemed totally chargeable for the soundness of their very own funds stability. In the course of the restoration, austerity programmes have been more and more criticised, and Europe skilled rising help for Keynesian insurance policies.

A working example is the emphasis positioned by the Juncker Fee (2014-2019) on progress and employment. The appointment of the Fee led by Ursula von der Leyen in December 2019 represented a further step within the EU shift away from austerity, including new and impressive plans to sort out local weather change. This was a transparent break from the earlier European strategy, which as an alternative of setting particular environmental targets, subordinated local weather insurance policies to progress and investments.

Promising an “economic system that works for individuals”, von der Leyen was in actual fact inverting the rating of EU priorities. Presenting the brand new Fee, she argued:

“On the coronary heart of our work is the necessity to tackle the modifications in local weather, know-how and demography which might be reworking our societies and lifestyle… The EU should lead the transition to a wholesome planet and a brand new digital world.”

The necessity to promote “the European lifestyle” (of which the EU Inexperienced Deal was now a cornerstone) was continually referenced throughout the debates over the post-pandemic restoration plan. Such an strategy was developed by the brand new Fee earlier than the COVID-19 outbreak, and the disaster was then exploited as a chance to push such priorities ahead.

COVID-19 as a reinforcing mechanism for the inexperienced transition

The post-pandemic response on the EU stage was linked to a push in the direction of rethinking financial policymaking extra broadly and notably to fulfil the ambition inherent within the EU Inexperienced Deal. The EU thus noticed the restoration from the pandemic as a chance to “relaunch and remodel our economies”. It’s on this spirit that the previous President of the Fee, Jean-Claude Juncker, predicted that “after the disaster we will likely be higher Europeans”.

The implementation of the restoration plan on the EU stage concerned harsh discussions on learn how to fund the plan and on the extent to which Subsequent Technology EU needed to be primarily based on grants versus loans. However, even essentially the most hawkish positions represented by the “Frugal 4” coalition (Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden) by no means questioned the overarching objective of the plan, i.e. the necessity to reinforce earlier local weather commitments.

My analysis reveals that key actors on the European stage noticed a strict hyperlink between the European Inexperienced Deal, formulated and agreed upon earlier than the outbreak of the pandemic, and Subsequent Technology EU. The principle points to be tackled have been recognized independently from the disaster and have been agreed upon by each main coalitions characterising the restoration debate – i.e. by the Frugal 4 and southern nations.

However, the height of COVID-19 (April 2020) allowed for convergence to emerge across the devices to be employed, which finally facilitated the launch of Subsequent Technology EU. The disaster was thus interpreted as a chance to strengthen the strategic agenda offered by the European Council for the interval of 2019–2024, which already centered on constructing a “local weather impartial, inexperienced, honest and social Europe”.

That is additional confirmed by the truth that the adjusted fee work programme printed in 2020 regarded very very like an expanded copy of the unique work programme printed in 2019. The pandemic was thought of the epitome of an exogenous shock, to which no clear long-term coverage response could possibly be given, if not one which bolstered earlier political financial plans.

In conclusion, specializing in the spending realms of Subsequent Technology EU helps us spotlight the inherent ambiguity of post-pandemic crisis-management. Moreover, it reminds us that crises don’t at all times specify a transparent “course” in the direction of which policymakers ought to search for options. It is a lesson that could be notably related because the EU faces the challenges of a polycrisis world.

For extra data, see the writer’s accompanying paper within the Journal of European Public Coverage


Observe: This text offers the views of the writer, not the place of EUROPP – European Politics and Coverage or the London College of Economics. Featured picture credit score: © European Union, 2021 (CC BY 4.0)


#COVID19 #pandemic #disaster #administration

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