France wants to extend the state of emergency until 11 May. Germany wants to wait until 4 May. And the EU wants to cancel the summer holidays and lock up senior citizens. It can’t go on like this – we need a perspective!
Easter is the festival of hope. At Easter, President Macron, Chancellor Merkel and EU President von der Leyen actually wanted to say when the curfews and contact restrictions imposed by COVID-19 could be relaxed.
But hope was misplaced. Macron extends the “strictest” state of emergency once again until 11 May, Merkel hesitates and hesitates – and von der Leyen declares that senior citizens’ homes must remain closed for many more months. We should also do without summer holidays.
There are good reasons for all this. The pandemic is far from being contained, pensioners are particularly at risk, and a premature relaxation of measures could do more harm than good. Europe still has a long dry spell to prepare for.
Nevertheless, it cannot go on like this. In order to endure and support the seemingly endless curfews, people need a clear “end date”, as the EU agency ECDC already called for at the end of March. Otherwise they will lose patience or hope.
There are already increasing signs that the mood is changing. Italians are turning away from the EU, Germans are insulting the French, and there have even been riots in Brussels. All this shows that nerves are bare and discontent is growing.
If the EU states now also start to extend (like France) or relax (like Austria or Spain) “their” measures on their own, the discontent will continue to grow. Then all that will be left to do is to save oneself.
That is why we now need a clear European perspective. There is a need for EU-wide test programmes, EU-wide airlifts for emergency patients, and EU-wide criteria for relaxing or lifting measures. We need an exit programme worthy of the name.
The EU Commission is probably not to be hoped for here. After von der Leyen backed down on the exit last week, she declared, at Easter of all days, that everything is not possible. But we need someone who can tell us when things will finally work again…
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) The original post (in German) is here