CORONAVIRUS: WHERE IS PEOPLE'S EUROPE?

15/03/2020

The Coronavirus problem is [finally] bringing the real Europe to the surface. The European Union project is certainly something positive for the continental economy, a project that leads to more economic, cultural and social unity, something which is well known in Gorizia with the project "City of Culture 2025".

But besides these beautiful things, solidarity between peoples can be seen and must be seen in times of crisis like these, without directives and projects of common interest. In these days we have seen many measures aimed at containing the pandemic, all of them decided by the individual states, but lacking precisely the basic principle of solidarity. Germany has tried to prevent the export of health materials - a manoeuvre not allowed (and thank goodness sanctioned and prevented) by the European Union, many other states have prevented access to Italians ("monstrous anointed" - just because the most careful to do the preventive tests), others have blocked everything ...

What is the lowest common denominator of all this? Well, certainly European unpreparedness - more or less like in the last crisis. The few (if any) powers that Europe has in the health sector are all showing themselves right now, where every country is leaving for its own, creating incredible chaos that will surely have terrible economic repercussions on the whole Old Continent.

Besides, we see that our neighbouring states are closing their borders to us, Austria and Slovenia mainly. We are sorry to see that Slovenia has closed its borders so eloquently, which has been partially adjusted with lighter provisions. Surely it could have been done otherwise, in a more supportive way, combined with closer cooperation. Let us remember last summer when the proposal to restore the borders led to all kinds of demonstrations. Okay, we are in crisis, little to do, but it still does not seem to us the right way to deal with the problem. It is certainly not Ljubljana's fault that her neighbouring countries have, in their way, closed the borders in her face, but we still do not understand why even freight traffic must have been completely blocked without warning, with very significant economic and environmental damage. We repeat, it could have been done otherwise and after consulting the region at least. Let us remember that the region maintains excellent cultural and above all commercial relations with Slovenia, relations which will inevitably be revised downwards in the immediate post-virus period. The protests of Fedriga and the Farnesina, we hope, will ensure that the situation is resolved in the best possible way. The damage, however, is done, a damage that certainly hurts Gorizia especially because of 2025 - European Capital of Culture.

In all this, however, we miss Brussels. The sweet words of Von der Leyen, the assurances (with annexed gaffe) of the ECB, Merkel etc. are not enough. It's not just money that is needed, but more humanity and solidarity. It would seem perfectly normal for European countries to automatically help each other out at times like this, which is not always taken for granted, as we have seen. It is not surprising that Chinese aid has kindled the hearts of millions of Italians, something that will surely be very convenient for China at the expense (perhaps) of the Western world.

So, in all this, it is clear that geopolitical balances can change very quickly. It is up to the Europeans, the European peoples, to decide how to behave and who to be with, with or against ourselves.



Martin Novak - Gorizia3.0