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EU must think and act big to retain popular credibility

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'Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen herself acknowledged a false start in the EU's initial response.' Photo: Reuters

'Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen herself acknowledged a false start in the EU's initial response.' Photo: Reuters

'Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen herself acknowledged a false start in the EU's initial response.' Photo: Reuters

Many observers have chosen to liken this global pandemic to an all-out war. But a war rendered all the more scary for having an unseen and silent enemy.

As analogies go, it has its uses. We could extend it by reflecting on the old adage that many military war leaders have in the past busied themselves ineffectively fighting the last conflict - not the one which directly confronted them years later.

That last-war analogy appears to fit the coronavirus and the EU's slow response to what Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has described as "a crisis of unprecedented scale and speed". Even acknowledging that the preponderance of authority in dealing with the coronavirus rests with the individual member states, we have to admit that the overall EU response hasn't been encouraging.