- Resources for Journalists
- Join us
The COVID-19 crisis will lead to a sharp contraction of GDP in all EU member states. From billions for airlines to several hundred euros for small businesses, governments have been supporting their economy in different ways.
The clash between the EU and AstraZeneca over delayed vaccines has revealed a stack of questionable contracts signed with Big Pharma. Problems include manufacturers’ ambiguous delivery dates, but lawyers investigating the deals show that companies have a clear advantage over the EU.
EU countries have reallocated €3.8 billion of EU structural funds away from climate action to enable a rapid response to the Covid-19 crisis. However, the European Commission hopes that the incoming fresh cash will reverse that trend.
Croatia is expected to receive a good wealth of EU funds in the coming years. However, the strategic priorities doesn't appear very bold and clear, and the plan for the use of the Recovery Fund is not ready yet.
Pharmaceutical giants producing COVID-19 vaccines are open to collaboration with third parties, as long as they retain control on vaccine licenses and profits. EU member states complain about supply shortages, but fail to question the power of Big Pharma.
Slow starts, supply shortages, disorganised and ad hoc management… Responses to COVID-19 across Europe have hardly been an occasion for pride. The OECD stresses the need to take into account the social inequalities in health, and consider health an investment rather than an expense.
Central and Eastern European member states need to bridge a huge gap in social spending, particularly in the area of family welfare payments. However, some of these countries already spend a relatively high share of social spending for family benefits.
Almost every local government across the EU expects a sharp decrease in revenues this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Expenditure on health, social services and civil protection has boomed, while income from tourism and the economy is decreasing.
For weeks, Spain and Italy were epicentres of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their health defences had an important gap: large staffing shortages and low ratios of nurses to doctors. At the same time, nurses had higher infection rates than the general population, mainly because of the lack of personal protective equipment.
Calls have been coming from all sides for the EU to intervene in the COVID-19 crisis in the name of European solidarity. Although the Union has little room for manoeuvre in the public-health sphere, it can use the powerful lever of economic and monetary policy to counter the coming economic downturn.