The pandemic Covid’19 within a few months became something so dramatic and deadly that the current generation was just unable to fathom. With no treatments and vaccines in place (yet), countries have to opt for drastic preventive measures which are having a monumental impact on the economy and society. As the IMF recently declared, that the world economy has entered a depression as worse as The Great Depression of the 1930s, predicting the loss of jobs for millions around the world.
The political impact of the pandemic is proving to be equally severe and extreme. The multi-regional organizations are set to be the most affected, with the European Union facing the most fatal blow.
The EU was the very first among all the existing regional organizations which for the first time experimented with sort of a smaller version of the idea of a “World Government”. It adopted a host of “adventurous” measures to make this experiment a success. The dilution of borders, the establishment of the Schengen Area within the EU states with officially abolishing passport and border control, which was to function under a single jurisdiction, is just to name a few.
The most ambitious plan, however, has been the introduction of the Euro, as a single currency to be in circulation among all its member states, precisely with the aim of consolidating the European economy in a unilinear fashion. The result of this ambitious plan has been mixed so far, with the Greek Government Debt crisis of 2009, revealing the faulty side of the Euro plan. Luckily, the EU was able to overcome the disaster, thanks to the German intervention, for bringing the situation under control.
The sudden rise of right wing nationalism in Europe, during the last few years, has posed a veritable threat to the existence of the EU. With the infamous Brexit of 2019, the matter worsened further. Now in the face of the pandemic, the EU is confronted with an unprecedented challenge.
To curb the rate of infection of this highly contagious disease, the lockdown has been in place in almost all the major states of the EU, with the sealing of borders, suspension of visas, and commercial activities. With the economy shut down, the pandemic is wreaking havoc in the European economy, with major countries like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, etc dealing with the most fatal blow. As a way out of this depressive phase of the economy, Italy and many other states of the EU have pushed for the issuance of “corona bonds”- the idea is to share the economic debt of the pandemic by all the EU states. This has led to unparalleled internal clash and discontent among the finance ministers of the Eurozone, with states like the Netherlands opposing the idea vehemently. Even though after a lot of debates and discussions the EU finally approved $ 590 billion as a stimulus to boost the economy, it miserably failed to arrive at a decision over the joint debt. Things worsened further when the Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Comte warned about the “failure of the EU’ over the Covid outbreak, subtly hinting at the imminent threat posed to the whole existence of the EU.
If the European Union fails to lead the member states through such an abnormal economic depression, the question of its credibility and relevance is bound to arise, with the right-wing parties acting as catalysts in an already wretched situation, thus pushing one of the most successful experiments of a multi-regional Government to the brink of extinction, making the future of the European Union as uncertain as to the future of the human civilization itself.