Anno LV, n. 228, maggio-agosto 2020
European institutions are not well equipped to manage crises. The analysis considers the case of the pandemic response highlighting the limits of the current governance framework and the sparse scope for EU level action in the health and economic domain. In parallel, the comparative analysis the case studies of national responses in four key member states (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) evidences their divergences in timing and scope, their sub-optimality in comparison to joint action and the risk for increasing the distance between core and periphery. Building on the findings and the policy debate surrounding proposed crisis-response instruments, as well as enacted measures at European level, the analysis highlights how the temporary palliative of ECB action and Next Generation EU do not tackle the underlying asymmetries in the governance framework. The Covid-19 driven policy developments and negotiations are evaluated against lesson from the Euro crisis in deriving insights on the extent to which a breakthrough has taken place and what is required for a deviation from minimal temporary compromise measure to a permanent solution to EMU shortcomings and incompleteness. A dramatic exogenous pandemic has opened an unprecedented window of opportunity for transnational solidarity within the EU. However, the divisiveness of the debate may further strengthen in the aftermath of a symmetric crisis with an asymmetric impact disproportionally penalising weaker economies and its legacy of skyrocketing public debt. While at the time of the analysis the full development of the crisis response is still unfolding, we confirm the need for furthering integration with a fully-fledged federal budget, of high value in view of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe and related debate on institutional reforms.