If there was a time when a top down concentrated effort was needed from Brussels, the Coronavirus crisis should have been the textbook reason as to why it makes sense to have such a European overstructure.
What could central Europe have done?
Medically: enforce a similar quarantine for all the Schengen countries. Why? So that when one country reaches the peak and infection rates start receding, they will not be forced to close internal borders (intra-Europe) to stop late reacting countries’ citizens from starting the infection all over again.
Economically: create a level playing field in terms of unemployment benefits, tax breaks, rent assistance. In addition, a synchronised quarantine that can end at roughly the same time, would allow inter block tourism and business travel to start again very quickly.
Instead, what did we get: a wide spectrum of reactions ranging from Laissez Faire to police enforced quarantine, medically. And economically we got Ms Lagarde’s stuttered response that costs markets hundreds of billions of euros.
Maybe it’s time to send all these Brussels bureaucrats home and invest the savings in the member state economies?