- Resources for Journalists
- Join us
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Hypertrophic”, “poorly run”, “bloated”, “too costly”... in all countries, cliches concerning the public service are legion. New indicators allow us to see how the reality is more nuanced.
Only 30 km of the whole rail network in Greece has functioning train traffic lights. The installation of new European Train Control System has derailed in the country because of mismanagement – costing tens of millions of public funds and several fatalities.
In Western Europe and Scandinavia, people spend more on healthcare and live longer, while in Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, less money is spent and life expectancy at birth is lower too. The EU average for healthcare spending is 9.9 percent of GDP. In Hungary it is 7.4 percent.