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global, multilateral and EU-related measures to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences



29 may

The COVID-19 economy: does it mean the end of globalization?

The World Trade Organization has predicted that world merchandise trade could plummet between 13 and 32% this year, following the impact of COVID-19.

It's predicted the adverse effects of coronavirus on globalization may carry on for years, much like the 2008 financial crisis.
This chart, based on World Bank data, shows how global trade has been stagnant for a number of years.

28 may

Brussels wants €750bn borrowing power to fund virus recovery | Financial Times

“Ursula von der Leyen says the EU’s problems are too grave to be fixed by any individual members themselves”

15 may

Have we reached peak globalization - and where do we go from here?


  • Globalization has been a defining feature of the modern world.

  • Debate exists as to whether the COVID-19 pandemic will strengthen or weaken it.

  • Richard Haass argues that governments and administrations should be cautious, when perusing a strategy of isolationism, and that deglobalization could prove itself to be a grave mistake.


Increasing global interconnection – growing cross-border flows of people, goods, energy, emails, television and radio signals, data, drugs, terrorists, weapons, carbon dioxide, food, dollars, and, of course, viruses (both biological or software) – has been a defining feature of the modern world. The question, though, is whether globalization has peaked – and, if so, whether what follows is to be welcomed or resisted.

10 may

There’s no returning to business as usual — geopolitical scenarios shaping a post-COVID-19 world
Imagining a Post-COVID-19 World: Strategic Futures

Co-Published by GARI

As nations scramble to respond to COVID-19 — the worst global crisis since World War II — initial responses have understandably been locally and nationally focused. Many have urged a more multilateral response, but to do what? Even though the pandemic was inevitable, there are no plans for this. As of yet, it has been difficult to model the course of the crisis, given the number of uncertainties. Much of the analysis that is currently being presented has been concerned with the viability of particular pandemic policy recommendations, not with the broader context of what the crisis might be doing to the global economy and society. Recommendations that have attempted to address strategic dimensions of a post-COVID-19 crisis world are not based on realistic assessments of the likely options. We need to start imagining the range of potential futures we could meet and the assumptions that underpin them, rather than just extrapolating a future based on fear or an ideological perspective. Scenario-based thinking can help us with ‘sense-making’ and pattern recognition, as we start to plan for life on the other side of the immediate public health crisis — and the choices and coordinated global actions necessary to improve the odds of achieving the more desirable outcomes.

Although we cannot predict it, we can imagine it. The following are a set of scenarios about what the world could look like over the next several years. Scenarios can help us understand the potential social, political and cultural implications of the COVID-19-crisis, and how it could have longer term effects on our institutions, norms, values and morals. By making our assumptions more explicit, scenarios can also help us understand many of the strategic risks our actions are incurring, while realistically looking for possible positive outcomes. By forming a common view of what could happen, we might be better prepared to know what to look for and to know how to interpret data when we see it and to recognize patterns, and start to make more effective and coordinated choices today.

Scenario 1: The Panic Normalised
Scenario 2: Taming Our Worst Impulses
Scenario 3: Too Little, Too Late
Scenario 4: “No Return to Normal”
Scenario 5: An Atomised World
Scenario 6: A Disaster Forgotten

5 may

EU leads (an almost) global effort to fight coronavirus | POLITICO

Commission claims fundraising victory for pandemic fight even as total new money is unclear.

An EU-led fundraising extravaganza for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics fell just short of the European Commission's €7.5 billion goal on Monday — even after organizers decided to count money already spent or allocated.


But an even bigger challenge for world leaders could be keeping a pledge to fight the pandemic without fighting each other.

Russia and the United States, one-time superpower rivals in science as well as politics, pointedly did not participate, highlighting the real risk that some wealthy countries could look to control vaccines or treatments to benefit their own citizens first.

Even as there were serious questions about how much of the €7.4 billion in pledges represented new resources to be deployed in the battle against the virus — including about the EU's own €1.4 billion commitment — Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hailed the fundraising event as a landmark victory in global cooperation.

1 may

WHO and European Investment Bank strengthen efforts to combat COVID-19 and build resilient health systems to face future pandemics | WHO & EIB


WHO and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will boost cooperation to strengthen public health, supply of essential equipment, training, and investment in countries most vulnerable to the COVID-19




EU should ‘not aim for self-sufficiency’ after coronavirus, trade chief says | FINAncial times


Joint response to coronavirus crisis will benefit all EU countries | POLITICO


Tightly interlinked economies put the eurozone at risk of economic and political contagion.

By Fabio Panetta, member of the executive board at the European Central Bank.

FRANKFURT — The case for common European economic action in response to the coronavirus crisis has often been presented as a call for solidarity. As noble as that motivation may be, it’s not the only reason for governments to act together. A strong, symmetric fiscal response that offsets the economic damage from the pandemic is in the economic interest of all countries in the eurozone.

The disadvantages of an asymmetric response are self-evident.

...So it’s clear why a forceful, symmetric European response is needed. Failure to act now will not insulate taxpayers from the costs of this crisis. Quite the opposite: It will amplify those costs when they finally come due. It will also weaken the policy responses already being undertaken. For example, without visibility on future sovereign funding costs and rollover risks, government guarantees on bank loans will either be priced differently across countries — or fewer such loans will be extended. Either way, the result will be fragmentation and a more persistent loss of economic potential.

A European fiscal response must be based around three principles. First, the size of the fiscal reaction should be proportionate to the magnitude of the shock. Second, it should not aggravate fragmentation stemming from differences in initial fiscal positions. Third, it should not skew the playing field within the European single market. Viable firms should be able to withstand this crisis no matter where in the eurozone they are located.


Pandemic threatens multilateral world order, says French foreign minister‘


My fear is that the world after will look like the world before, only worse,’ says Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The minister said the response to the pandemic has created a "challenge to multilateralism," invoking as examples President Donald Trump's move to cut funding for the WHO and disagreements over China's role in the global power play.

"Major players are disengaging, as illustrated by the American decision to suspend its contribution to the World Health Organization, even though it is the only universal organization capable of fighting the pandemic," he said. "This struggle is also the systematization of the balance of power that we saw mounting long before, with the exacerbation of the Sino-American rivalry."

Asked whether fights over the role of China in the world could mar international relations, Le Drian said that the European Commission views China as "both a partner and systemic rival," while the U.S. "is a great power that seems hesitant to play its leadership role in the world."

He said the U.S. withdrawal as global leader made it "difficult to take collective action on the major challenges facing humanity" and that China's support is needed, too.

"I am thinking, for example, of the implementation of the Paris climate agreement. This can only happen if China respects the European Union as such," he said.

Relying on allies would not be enough for Europe, however, Le Drian said. "What is at stake for Europe is to exercise its sovereignty and find a destiny of leadership."


The IMF says its forecast for the COVID-19 recession might now be too optimistic 

World Economic Forum



EU Parliament struggles for influence due to coronavirus | Politico Europe

At a time of crisis, many MEPs feel the European Parliament has pressed the mute button.

The assembly has tried to maintain its activity by setting up mini sessions in Brussels, holding e-votes and organizing committee meetings via video link.

But just as MEPs are set to adopt another set of emergency measures at a (predominantly virtual) plenary, an increasing number of lawmakers feel they have become irrelevant at a time when they should be holding governments and other EU institutions to account.

In addition, many say the emergency procedures and the system of online meetings and e-voting has paralyzed parliamentary work, leaving MEPs unable to properly discuss and amend laws.



WHO advises on a phased transition from an explosive widespread transmission to a sustained low-level transmission of Covid-19.

World Health Organization (WHO) updated advice to countries on the public health response to #Covid19 at national and subnational levels and to guide the global response. It advises on a phased transition from an explosive widespread transmission to a sustained low-level transmission of Covid-19.

Countries must do everything they can to prevent cases becoming clusters and clusters turning into a wide-spread community transmission again. Robust capacity to test and diagnose, isolate and treat and follow up on all contacts needs to be in place.

Countries are under tremendous pressure to stabilize the economy. But a strategy should keep its focus on controlling Covid-19 outbreak first, while normalizing life, to the maximum extent possible as second. Or we will face grave consequences in a possible second or third wave.

Everyone plays a role in this - citizens, institutions, companies and governments.


France, Germany join group of 10 EU countries calling for green recovery | EURACTIV 


Paris and Berlin have added their names to a growing list of EU capitals asking for the European Green Deal to be placed at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan.

The Green Deal “must be central to a resilient recovery after COVID-19,” EU environment ministers wrote in an opinion piece published on Climate Home News, a specialised information site.

“The Green Deal provides us with a roadmap to make the right choices in responding to the economic crisis while transforming Europe into a sustainable and climate-neutral economy,” the ministers wrote in the commentary piece.

“We should withstand the temptations of short-term solutions in response to the present crisis that risk locking the EU in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come,” the text reads.

The op-ed was initially put online on Thursday (9 April) and signed by the environment ministers of 10 EU countries: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg,  the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

On Friday (10 April), they were joined by French environment minister Elisabeth Borne, who added her name to the list of signatories. 


There’s only one option for a global coronavirus exit strategy | WEF & Project Syndicate

For now at least, heavy-handed nationalist responses predominate. Alongside curfews, lockdowns, and requisitioning, governments are closing borders and using wartime rhetoric to rally their populations. Global supply chains and trade are being disrupted not just by lockdowns, but also by wealthy countries’ competition for supplies.

Soon, however, governments will need to restart the global economy. And that will require international cooperation in several key areas.

The first crucial element of a COVID-19 exit strategy is massive testing (for both infection and immunity), so that healthy people can return to work and those who are infected can get appropriate treatment. For this, countries will need adequate supplies of testing kits and protective equipment, as well as ventilators and access to emerging treatments.

International cooperation is vital to enabling mass testing and treatment. A primary supplier of the swabs used for collecting nasopharyngeal samples, Copan, is based in Northern Italy. The reagents used to extract virus RNA from collected cells are produced mainly by Qiagen, a German company with a complex global supply chain. And foreign companies make roughly half of the ventilators in the United States; one-third come from Europe.


Only Multilateralism Can Save Us | 19. March | Project Syndicate | Anne O. Krueger


3 april

Great Recession showed countries can’t fight the coronavirus economic crisis alone

World Economic Forum/USA Today

As the world economy enters an unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and policymakers in Washington and other global capitals prepare record fiscal stimulus plans, stakeholders should heed an important lesson from the last financial downturn in 2008: Recovery is only possible through coordinated global action.

A little more than 10 years ago, as the world was entering the Great Recession, stakeholders had to look far back in the rearview mirror to the Great Depression for policy guidance. While the actions of the 1930s did offer important lessons for 2008 — most notably the need to expand the money supply — the economy of the 1930s was fundamentally different than the global economy of the early part of this century. READ MORE: A lesson from the Great Recession...

1 april

How to boost global resilience to COVID-19 | World Economic Forum

The Multilateral System Still Cannot Get Its Act Together on COVID-19


Council on Foreign Relations: from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

26 march

Only Multilateralism Can Save Us | 19. March | Project Syndicate | Anne O. Krueger

19 march

Global Arena Research Institute launches the "Beyond" Initiative 

The global COVID-19 emergency emphasizes local and nation-based responses and national

collectivism in general. In the short term, it is understandable. The multilateral institutions (including the EU) were not devised with such a scenario in mind.

However, in the long run, going national and going local is not the way forward. Nation-states cannot win the fight against COVID-19 (or similar threats in the future) by themselves. Moreover, there is a mounting risk that such a nationalist bias will endure and last beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

GARI believes, instead, that it is imperative to look "beyond" the local and national horizons

As of today, GARI launches the initiative "Beyond" to stress this point. We are starting by tracking and highlighting global, multilateral and EU-related measures to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences. We believe that the COVID-19 coverage in the (social) media favours reporting on national measures and national policies and politics, thus further prompts nationalism as such. 

Our subsequent goal is to follow on implementation and impact of these measures in a coherent and continuous manner.

Any suggestions, inputs or comments welcome (via FB messenger, LinkedIn or email  

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The world must establish a genuine dialogue between the most advanced technologies and artificial reasoning capabilities on the one hand, and the normative and critical capabilities of the social sciences on the other. We have reached the point where their mutual inspiration and cross-fertilization is a must.



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