2020-COVID-19 puts European solidarity at risk

COVID-19 puts "European solidarity at risk"

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 08:12:00 BST

Covid-19 has put the solidarity between EU countries at risk, according to a new study.

Researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University and Brunel University London reported strong opposition against the easing of border controls this summer, in a policy briefing for the EU-funded RESPOND project.

More than 8000 tweets, originating from France, Italy, Hungary, Germany, and Romania, relating to border controls and posted between March, April, and May, were collated for the paper.

They featured "extensive" opposition against the easing of border restrictions this summer with 90% identifying freedom of movement as an issue of concern.

Now researchers are calling for a public campaign to highlight the fact infection rates across the continent are broadly similar ahead of the removal of restrictions.

Professor Umut Korkut, Reader of International Politics at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "The coronavirus crisis is posing a crucial challenge to the main pillar of EU integration - solidarity among the EU member states.

"Our findings are not fully representative, but still represent an important and prevalent conviction.

"The biggest challenge for the EU right now is to provide a renewed feeling of solidarity.

"There is an urgent need to start a public campaign in Europe to present that the coronavirus infection rates across the EU states are equivalent, and hence removing border controls should not unleash abrupt new infection waves due to cross-border mobility."

GCU is currently providing UK research for RESPOND, an EU-funded review of the 2015 migrant crisis, which involves 14 universities across the continent, as well as in Lebanon and Iraq.