Agnieszka Brugger

Internationale Politik

A global assistance package to tackle the global coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus is a global challenge, and a global response is therefore the only option. No country can cope with the coronavirus crisis and its already devastating consequences alone. If we work against each other, we will all lose in the end. We can and will only overcome this crisis through cooperation and dialogue.

In many countries, including in Germany, public, economic and cultural life has been at a standstill for weeks. Drastic steps have been taken to keep health systems from collapsing. And nonetheless, we are anxiously looking at the infection graphs and worrying about our family members and friends. Like many other countries, Germany has put together an unprecedented rescue package for businesses and workers to contain the economic and social consequences. Unfortunately, not all countries are in a position to do so.

The coronavirus is impacting everyone, irrespective of their origins, gender or skin colour. Yet, already vulnerable populations are most affected. This applies, in particular, to people who live in countries with weakened public institutions and health systems, where social safety nets are inadequate or non-existent, and where there is a lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities. In addition, the economic consequences and responses are distributed unevenly: while many European countries, the United States and China can afford to put together gigantic assistance packages at short notice, many developing countries are much more likely to plunge into devastating economic and currency crises.

We therefore need a global response to the coronavirus crisis which is based on solidarity. Germany and the EU have the economic means, and thus also a great responsibility, to take action now to prevent the risk of the imminent death of millions of people, increasing human rights violations, the dismantling of democratic achievements and severe economic turmoil affecting entire regions.

Solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people and fair, respectful cooperation on equal terms is, for Europe, the right course of action in terms of both head and heart. If Europe fails to act now, others will fill the gap and attempt to expand their geopolitical influence even further. Populists and autocrats around the world are trying to outdo each other in terms of restrictions on fundamental rights. They are denying the reality, embracing fake news and taking unilateral, “my country first” approaches. We can only contain this crisis effectively, however, by putting global solidarity first and standing up for civil and human rights, and doing so by democratic means.

If Europe fails to take action now together with partners around the world, the feared global economic and financial crisis will be much more severe, with devastating consequences for millions of people. And if Europe fails to act, there will be increasing risks, of conflicts flaring up again, further disintegration of state structures,  a massive rise in poverty, even greater oppression of human rights activists, and even more people losing their homes, especially in many countries in the Global South. We cannot allow global inequality to be further exacerbated by this crisis.

Germany must therefore press for a strong joint response to this pandemic in the United Nations, the EU, the G20 and other international organisations. Together with my collegues from the Green Party I outlined necessary steps for global solidarity in a paper in April. Here you can find the English translation of our paper. 

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