US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The news is terrible. The shortage of necessary equipment forces doctors, as in war, to make decisions about who will live and who will die. Sick people line up in long lines, waiting in vain for analysis or a place in the hospital, reports Project Syndicate.
Businesses, shops, bars and restaurants were empty, and the local economy around the world froze for an indefinite period. And it’s very sad to follow the statistics for which countries the coronavirus has hit hardest: now the United States has pulled ahead, where almost 61 thousand more confirmed cases have been recorded than in China, where this epidemic outbreak initially began.
In Europe, the pandemic hit particularly hard in Italy, where a national quarantine was introduced on March 9 in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. As of March 30, almost 98,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Italy. To date, more than 10700 Italians, mainly in the northern region of the country – Lombardy, have died from this disease. Milan, the capital of the region, is not just a pillar of the Italian economy. This recently full of life city is inextricably linked with the European project and is one of the most important engines of the European economy as a whole.
But although the number of deaths is growing, and the infection rate in this region is higher than anywhere else on the continent, the European Union and its countries are not in a hurry to come to the rescue in any significant way and demonstrate their solidarity with the diseased neighbor. On the contrary, EU countries close their borders and isolate themselves. Italy’s situation worsened due to the closure of borders, because the channels of the supplies she needed so much were blocked, in particular, medical equipment and materials.
Governments engaged in petty quarrels; they are clearly more concerned with their own economic benefits. Representatives from some of the northern European countries began to challenge Italy’s recent economic decisions; for them, apparently, it is much more important to know how Italy will be able to pay off its debts than details about the death toll and the economic downturn.
At a time when the European continent (and indeed the whole world) was faced with a medical and economic crisis of historical proportions, Europe turned out to be a split house, which is facing a possible territorial collapse. If Brexit united the remaining 27 EU countries and eliminated the ghost of the exit of other countries from the European scene, the coronavirus returned it to this scene.
The European Union has an obligation to all member countries and their peoples: it must use all and any financial instruments at its disposal (or create new ones) to ensure that Italy and the European Union as a whole can withstand this crisis and, ultimately, recover after it. For this, it is necessary to abandon the usual reliance on outdated management models that are based on the idea of the absence of any common financial resources in the monetary union. If Italy goes bankrupt, the price for the European economy (and moreover, for the European project itself) will be much higher than the price of violating one or two budget rules during a period of serious danger.
On the eve of the European Council’s virtual summit last week, a group of nine European countries, including southern states such as Portugal and Slovenia, called for the issue of Eurobonds and the sharing of collective debt. At the summit, the task of finding possible solutions was entrusted to the financial institutions of Europe, perhaps with the aim of easing political pressure on government leaders (most of them are concerned about the opposition within their countries). At the same time, some of Italy’s most authoritarian and extremist political figures took the opportunity to campaign against the EU and put on the agenda the question of Italy’s withdrawal from the eurozone and, in general, from the European Union.
Given that under the current administration, the United States began to recede from the post-war transatlantic alliance, the European Union got a chance to prove in practice its stated commitment to values, rights and multilateral cooperation and to establish itself as one of the global leaders. But he does not take this chance. Although the future of Europe today looks bleak, it is not too late for European institutions and governments to change course. The EU cannot afford to lose Italy or survive this crisis without reacting to it in a meaningful way. Otherwise, all countries of the union and their economy will suffer.
My father, George Soros, witnessed some of the most terrifying crimes of the last century, and this experience instilled in him a deep and lasting faith in the need for a European project. I am proud that for such a long time he has been using his charitable institutions to promote a better future in Europe and around the world.
And therefore it is not surprising that the Open Society Foundations organization that he founded decided to help Italy at this critical moment, allocating 1 million euros to the city of Milan to support the difficult work of helping the most vulnerable groups, as well as restoring the economy, health and spirit in the coming months .
Yes, of course, some EU countries (albeit with delays) also send medical materials to Italy, and many Italians donate funds for a national fight against the crisis. Albania, which only a few days ago had agreed to start negotiations on EU accession, showed genuine European solidarity by sending a group of 30 doctors to northern Italy. I hope that many others will follow suit and offer a helping hand to the regions that Covid-19 hit hardest. The Open Society Foundations Foundation, which has just donated a similar gift to the city of Budapest, will continue to lend a helping hand: in the coming days, the Foundation will make a series of decisions to combat this crisis.
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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.