Expert: COVID-19 crisis may have come from heaven for EU unity

Dr Małgorzata Bonikowska who heads the Centre for International Relations says that the EU summit in Brussels is a chance for the EU to reset itself by agreeing a joint strategy to fight the pandemic and the economic crisis.

See full interview here.

Dr Bonikowska believes that the outcome of the summit is a reset moment for the EU. She feels that unity comes from mobilising to do things together.

She didn’t think the summit should be viewed through an analysis of who the winners and losers were as all summits have to reach a compromise. The Coronavirus crisis, argues Dr Bonikowska, was a blessing in the sense that it concentrated minds on coping with an unprecedented situation resembling post-war Europe more than the financial crisis of a decade ago.

Małgorzata Bonikowska says that the response to the Coronavirus by the EU is unprecedented because for the first time in its history the community is raising money on the international markets together and will have to pay for that together too. But she acknowledged there were doubts among the ‘frugal’ states how that money would be used by some countries.

In terms of the dispute over linking funds to rule of law compliance the expert believes that the issue will not go away even if there is still no mechanism for it. The decision to allow the Council of Ministers to vote on such a mechanism was significant and it is not at all clear how the European Council would then be able to overturn such a decision as the European Council is not a legislative body.

Nevertheless, Dr Bonikowska felt that the summit was a good outcome for Poland. The financial settlement and a desire for a ‘reset’ meant that the country was not isolated in the EU. She did not think the EP could overturn the agreement but could affect the way it is implemented with legislation.