The coronavirus crisis is severely impacting European Union member states’ medical sector, economy, national welfare systems and societies in general. It is premature to judge whether governmental restrictions will flatten the curve of infected citizens, thus providing hope for a return to European business as usual. At present, the virus has caused human tragedy, a stock market meltdown of around 40%, severe trade restrictions and has led to complete lockdowns of regions and metropolitan areas.
It does not take a lot of foresight to see that any “after” the coronavirus will be much different. For obvious reasons, current attention focuses on enhancing disaster management, developing a vaccine, producing COVID-19 test kits and adjusting supply chains for pharmaceutical products. And, of course, developing economic recovery measures – such as earmarking billions of euros to cope with an unprecedented rise in unemployment.
This paper intends to examine the impact of the coronavirus on the EU from an International Relations perspective. It will attempt to shed light on a post-Corona Europe and the challenges emanating from beyond its Eastern flank. It will revisit the state of affairs in Europe at the turn of the decade and examine China’s behavior during the pandemic.