COVID-19: To What Extent is the EU just as Federal as the USA?

The historical and unprecedented COVID-19 crisis which became a global pandemic within months seemed to have followed a similar trajectory to that of a plane (take off, full flight and landing) with first the rise of the spread and the awakening of the countries to the major health catastrophe that it promised to become, the full blast of the crisis when people’s awareness was at its peak matched only by the number of infected and deaths and the period when post lockdown measures were being considered and started to be implemented. This article seeks to focus on the first phase, those early weeks when countries were starting to realise the extent of the crisis and began to react. It compares two geopolitical giants that at first appear to function very differently but when taking a closer look may not be so different. The pro-federalists in favour of the European Union (EU) have always looked to the USA as an institutional example of what the member states of the EU could achieve if a supranational elected government were to be granted competencies beyond those of the current inter-governmental set up.

What this COVID-19 pandemic revealed is that beyond the institutional differences, the response to the crisis in the USA and the EU were very similar First the institutional competencies of the states versus the overarching system, the federal government in the USA and the institutions in the EU, were reviewed to highlight the differences of competencies granted to each and then the similarities in the COVID-19 response were discussed.

par Dr. Raphaela Kitson-Pantano

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