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Tags: european union

EU Suffering the COVID Blues

map of europe with covid vaccine vials and coronaviruses surrouding it
(Yakobchuk | Dreamstime)

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz By Friday, 22 January 2021 12:15 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Europe, including the Intemarium, has been hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19. Or is it a third wave? No one really knows. And no one can truly figure out how to manage the pandemic which has now claimed over half a million dead Europeans.

So far, Brussels and its underlings have understood that more freedom translates into economic growth; but more freedom also means more contact between people which, in turn, exacerbates the pandemic. At the moment the best that the leading EU elites can come up with is more centralization and less freedom. It seems, however, that the official response is too late and too much. For example, Brussels touts a "COVID passport." It would divide citizens according to their attitude to inoculation.

At least we in the US have federalism. In Europe federalism is increasingly suspect. For example, in Germany some question its utility in favor of centralization. The European powers that be have increasingly shifted to central management with no light at the end of the tunnel. Central management and lockdowns have enveloped the Old Continent with various intensity, depending on a nation state.

There is not much innovation in public policy. National governments seem to oscillate between tightening and relaxing the COVID regime. During the present cycle, generally, there is curfew in most EU countries ranging from the maximum from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with some regional variations in Czechia, Spain, France, Hungary, Portugal, and Italy. The hours are flexible, and governments either shorten or lengthen them as they see fit.

All countries have extended their mandatory lockdowns; for example the Netherlands, which shut down in mid-December, has shut down until February 9. Uniquely, Greece has introduced an indefinite lockdown. And Sweden has instituted a partial one for the first time. On Cyprus, all citizens are under house arrest; one is permitted to leave home only twice a day only in exceptional cases after notifying the authorities via text message. Slovakia has extended house arrest of the non-innoculated from a single county to the entire nation.

However, some do not want to be innoculated because they do not trust the vaccine. That is the case not only in Germany and Poland, but also throughout Europe. In Bulgaria 46% of the citizens polled refuse to be innoculated. When an apparently healthy 41-year old Portuguese mother, four Swedish senior citizens, and at least 29 elderly Norwegians died shortly after subjecting themselves to COVID shots, it made news everywhere.

And so do various hamfisted moves by the governments in Europe register. In Portugal, the authorities have introduced regulations that will allow them to expropriate private property "to facilitate economic reconstruction" after COVID. In Denmark, afraid that animals would spread the virus, the government carried out the killing of 15 million mink, totally ruining the gem of the nation's animal husbandry. In Belgium, the authorities have cracked down on gay orgies for violating no-socializing rules.

In Germany, one's dog can get a haircut, but not his owner, at least in Münster. A leftist German politician has suggested even that the same punitive measures against resisting the coronavirus policies should be applied also to the "global warming denial" and other environmental thought crimes.

There is some good news. Hungary has stayed the course in its comprehensive approach to containing the pandemic and now even some leftists in the EU positively acknowledge Budapest's approach. Poland sent its troops to help the Brits deal with a gigantic traffic jam after France sealed its border following Brexit.

Meanwhile, demonstrations against COVID restrictions continue throughout the continent. In Vienna thousands marched last weekend. In Prague, about 3,000 showed up and dispersed rather peacefully; in contrast, protest marches in Copenhagen and Alborg attracted a couple of hundred "Men in Black" but some violence ensued.

The Bulgarians, both in Sofia and London, successfully picketed and demonstrated against their government's decision to suspend air transportation with Great Britain to prevent the new strain of COVID from spreading. The flights were restored so people could come home for Christmas and then return to work in the isles.

There is civil disobedience with restaurants, gyms, and other establishments opening everywhere from Italy to Poland. In Greece the Orthodox Church defied the government by refusing to curtail its Epiphany (Three Kings) services. Because of an unusually warm winter, the Greeks hit the beaches in defiance of lockdown. On the other hand, the Spanish took advantage of a freak snowstorm to flaunt quarantine rules in Madrid. People danced in the streets and threw snowballs.

Levity aside, the outlook is rather bleak. With almost 75,000 deaths so far, Italy has outpaced Great Britain as a leading source of EU fatalities, which stand at about 428,000. Outside the EU, Russia is the real leader of the death toll; Moscow has recently admitted that over 180,000 of its citizens died, almost three times as officially reported hitherto.

In comparison to Europe, the U.S. looks pretty good. Under the circumstances, America has not been doing so badly. Let's see what happens after the regime change in D.C.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.

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Europe, including the Intemarium, has been hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19. Or is it a third wave? No one really knows.
european union
Friday, 22 January 2021 12:15 PM
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