728 x 90

Coronavirus live news: India Covid-19 cases top 900,000 as 133m re-enter lockdown | World news

We’re carrying a fascinating exclusive with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on how a litany of failings meant that when Italy faced disaster, its distress call to the EU met with a shocking silence The article relates how it all began with ‘a moment of chilling clarity’ on 26 February. With the numbers of Italians

We’re carrying a fascinating exclusive with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on how a litany of failings meant that when Italy faced disaster, its distress call to the EU met with a shocking silence

The article relates how it all began with ‘a moment of chilling clarity’ on 26 February. With the numbers of Italians known to be infected by coronavirus tripling every 48 hours, the country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, appealed to fellow EU member states for help.

His hospitals were overwhelmed. Italian doctors and nurses had run out of the masks, gloves and aprons they needed to keep themselves safe, and medics were being forced to play God with the lives of the critically-ill due to an acute lack of ventilators.

An urgent message was passed from Rome to the European commission’s Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels. The specifications of Italy’s needs were uploaded into the EU’s Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS).

But what happened next came as a shock. The distress call was met with silence.

“No member state responded to Italy’s request and to the commission’s call for help,” said Janez Lenarčič, the European commissioner responsible for crisis management. “Which meant that not only is Italy is not prepared … Nobody is prepared … The lack of response to the Italian request was not so much a lack of solidarity. It was a lack of equipment.”

Leaders have been asked fundamental questions about the purpose of the European project when states fail to come to each other’s aid at the darkest times. This weekend the EU’s 27 heads of state and government will meet in Brussels for the first time in person for five months to try to plot a way forward.

In our article today, through both analysis of internal records and interviews with dozens of EU officials and experts in both Brussels and the bloc’s capitals, we tell the full story of how Europe emerged to be the WHO-designated “epicentre” of a global pandemic and what key lessons might be learned.

It is a story of well-meaning officials in Brussels speaking in urgent tones of an impending disaster to empty press conference rooms. Of increasingly desperate health ministers unable to convince their heads of government and finance ministries of the scale of what was coming and the imperative to act.

Of governments belatedly recognising the speed at which the virus was spreading, only to rush into uncoordinated acts of protectionism in moments of ill-concealed panic.

And of EU institutions and agencies in which central figures either lacked the experience or powers to get capitals to act together in the face of a disease with respect for neither borders nor the glacial pace of Brussels’ bureaucracy. It is the story of an EU caught ill-equipped and institutionally incapable of mounting an adequate response to the crisis that so swiftly engulfed it.

[ad_2]

Source link

Susan E. Lopez
ADMINISTRATOR
PROFILE

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos