19 May 2020

VB Live: “Whatever it takes?” – COVID-19 as an (existential) crisis for the European Union

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented constitutional challenges to states worldwide, and to their regional and international cooperation. The Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) and Verfassungsblog are bringing together internationally recognized experts in a three-part online discussion series to reflect on these challenges and ways to address them.

Session II: 19 May 2020 – 4:00 – 5:45 pm

“Whatever it takes?” – COVID-19 as an (existential) crisis for the European Union

The COVID-19 crisis challenges the European Union in unprecedented – some would even say: existential – ways. Solidarity, everyone agrees, is the order of the day. But how? And how long? Can only commonly shouldered debt in the form of “Corona bonds” prevent a COVID-19 induced death to the Union, or does the European Stability Mechanism present an apt instrument to deal with the economic fall-out of the pandemic? And what about democracy and the rule of law in the fight against the pandemic? This panel discusses these and other questions the EU is confronted with in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.


CHRISTOS STYLIANIDES (Former EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management)

European Lessons from the Ebola pandemic for the current COVID-19 crisis

ANNA KATHARINA MANGOLD (Europa-Universität Flensburg)

The COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst for other European crises

MARK DAWSON / ANA BOBIC (Hertie School, Berlin)

COVID-19 and the European Central Bank

KIM LANE SCHEPPELE (Princeton University)

Orbán’s ,emergency measures’ and their consequences for the EU

Moderation: Sinthiou Buszewski

The audience is warmly encouraged to participate and ask questions, either by leaving a comment here on VB, or via Twitter by using the hashtag #IFHV.

Next session:

26 May 2020 – 4:00 – 5:45 pm

Session III: “Universally respected but temporarily neglected” – COVID-19 as a crisis for human rights and multilateralism


Previous session:

12 May 2020 – 4:00 – 5:45 pm

Session I: “Schaffen wir das?” – COVID-19 as a Crisis for German Law and Politics

SUGGESTED CITATION  , : VB Live: “Whatever it takes?” – COVID-19 as an (existential) crisis for the European Union, VerfBlog, 2020/5/19, https://verfassungsblog.de/vb-live-whatever-it-takes-covid-19-as-an-existential-crisis-for-the-european-union/.


  1. Pierre Thielbörger Tue 19 May 2020 at 16:47 - Reply

    All the speakers seem to agree that an infringement action against Germany following the recent ultra-vires judgment by the Bundesverfassungsgericht is a bad, potentially dangerous idea? (Do all speakers agree on this?) If so, in which way is it dangerous? Would it have effects on the way the Union potentially handles the current pandemic or future crises?

  2. To Professor Kim Scheppele,
    Do you observe issues of rule of law under a state of emergency in/outside of EU other than Hungary?
    If so, do you think is the Hungarian case more serious than other states?
    If not, do you think is the comparatively low-level of rule of law before the pandemic triggered the serious issue of rule of law in Hungary?
    I would like to know the whether COVID-19’s influence on rule of law in Hungary and other states is similar or different.

  3. Benedikt Behlert Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:11 - Reply

    It has been argued that the Federal Constitutional Court’s judgment could in the best case scenario lead to a transformation of the EU for the better. Can we perhaps already see the beginning of such a transformation, now that Germany, together with France, has come up with an idea that would arguably make the member states’ commitment of solidarity much more real? In other words: Could the initiative partly be understood as an attempt to control the potential damage resulting from the judgment?

  4. Marco Jäger Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:12 - Reply

    Question to the EU Commissioner: Surely you have dealt with many crises in your function as EU Commissioner of Crisis Management. Sometimes in the past the EU has been weakened by crises, but sometimes (overcoming a) crisss can also strengthen a community like the EU (I think Ms. Mangold hinted to that earlier). What factors, in your experience, determine whether the Union comes out of them stronger or weaker than before? Will the EU be stronger or weaker after COVID-19?

  5. Timeela Manandhar Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:13 - Reply

    Thank you so much for the interesting discussion so far! I would like to ask the panel a question relating to the prevention of pandemics such as COVID-19:

    All relevant pandemics (Sars 1, CORONA-19, MERS, swine flu, avian influenza, Ebola) have been and continue to be zoonotic diseases. Further, all are connected with the consumption of animal products. In light of this, does the EU have a responsibility to change its already controversial policies on animal agriculture, especially the subsidiaries in its Common Agricultural Policy?

  6. Nikola Tietze Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:31 - Reply

    Merkel and Macron’s proposal is an agreement on market-based solidarity. A European social solidarity must involve other interlocutors than finance and economy ministers: the social partners, in particular trade unions, local actors from the health sector, etc. How can these actors be involved in the debate? What role can the Commission play to broaden the debate on market-based solidarity to a debate on social policy solidarity in the EU?

  7. Amin Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:34 - Reply

    what would be the impact of the current multiple state of emergencies within the EU in the long run? Will it reinforce abusing the state of emergency as a source for illegitimate law-making that is against ROL and the principle of pluralist democracy?

  8. Osondu Perpetua Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:36 - Reply

    Maybe as a last question, to be answered only in one sentence per person: Could all panelists name ONE thing that they think will be (fundamentally) different in the EU after COVID-19?

  9. Marco Jäger Tue 19 May 2020 at 17:38 - Reply

    Maybe as a last question, to be answered only in one sentence per person: Could all panelists name ONE thing that they think will be (fundamentally) different in the EU after COVID-19?

Leave A Comment


1. We welcome your comments but you do so as our guest. Please note that we will exercise our property rights to make sure that Verfassungsblog remains a safe and attractive place for everyone. Your comment will not appear immediately but will be moderated by us. Just as with posts, we make a choice. That means not all submitted comments will be published.

2. We expect comments to be matter-of-fact, on-topic and free of sarcasm, innuendo and ad personam arguments.

3. Racist, sexist and otherwise discriminatory comments will not be published.

4. Comments under pseudonym are allowed but a valid email address is obligatory. The use of more than one pseudonym is not allowed.

Explore posts related to this:
Coronavirus, ECB, VB Live, Viktor Orban, solidarity