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The EU Choice towards Integration in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemics

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic was a catalyst for the growing systemic crisis of the EU and at the same time gave the Union an impetus towards its qualitatively new development in favor of deeper integration, expressed in a change in the financial and economic space of the EU. Realizing the risks of their internal destabilization, the EU core countries decided to sacrifice the surplus from their economic successes through the socialization of debts in order to save the most affected peripheral Member States to preserve both the integration union and the European idea itself. The purpose of this article is to explain the difficulty of making this decision and its compromise nature, as well as to clarify the likely consequences and suggest options for the further development of the situation. The authors first compare the pros and cons of debt socialization. Then the variables are compared: the Spanish proposal, the Franco-German initiative and the negotiating platform on the "next generation EU" by Ursula von der Leyen with the fundamental points of the European Council compromise decision. It also provides answers to questions about the volume, conditions, mechanism, and control over the expenditure of the financial assistance provided. The breakthrough steps taken by the Member States towards finding an optimal solution are analyzed. The result of the study is a balanced conclusion about the ambiguous nature of the decision adopted by the EU but having a historical significance and opening prospects for the further deepening of integration processes. This is facilitated by reaching an agreement on the need to bring the core of the EU closer to the periphery through the socialization of debts, as well as the importance of structural reforms that would ensure the construction of a harmonious economy of the future based on a new technological platform and formulated in a breakthrough plan called the next generation EU. Success is not guaranteed, as it depends on the behavior of all Member States, but it is real.

Keywords:

EU; pandemic; European integration; supranational law; debt socialization.


Authors: Mark Entin, Ekaterina Entina, Vadim Voynikov

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