Europeans see major rifts in the EU, fear the coronavirus could break it up for good

Europeans see major rifts in the EU, fear the coronavirus could break it up for good
EU Headquarters Berlaymont bldg, Brussels. Wikimedia Commons PD (Romaine)

[Ed. – If consulting through the EU is a bug rather than a feature in the face of such a singular crisis, that would indicate the union was never that desirable in the first place.]

Norbert Röttgen, a German politician jockeying to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel, likened the continent’s infighting to “a grueling trench war,” as he joined the chorus of voices warning that the E.U. is in grave peril.

The debate has indeed been bitter. After nine countries, including Italy and Spain, requested financial support in the form of “corona bonds,” Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said Brussels should study why some governments lacked the financial wherewithal to fight the crisis on their own.

That comment, made during a private conference call of E.U. finance ministers, touched off a firestorm, since it sounded to critics as though the Dutch were trying to turn a health crisis, whose origins had little to do with the actions of any European government, into a fiscal morality play. …

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A separate videoconference call last week among E.U. leaders, which was intended to be a fairly brief check-in, spiraled into unusually angry discussion and extended for more than three hours, diplomats familiar with the meeting said.

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