There are countless articles these days on how the Covid-19 crisis is stress-testing the mechanisms and very foundations of European solidarity. Some observers, driven by different agendas, go even further and claim that it is the very existence of the European Union (EU), already weakened by the high-speed succession of crises over the last decade, which is at stake.
While the EU domestic dimension of the crisis is in the spotlight, less ink has been spilled over the impact of such a crisis for its external relations, including those with its Southern Neighbourhood.
Yet, there is little doubt that the coronavirus will be another litmus test for Euro-Mediterranean relations, which were already strained or at best on hold for a number of reasons, even before the crisis.
Strained because of misunderstandings or irritants with specific countries over trade relations, political issues, human rights or the reform agenda. On hold because the new team in Brussels was waiting to stabilise relations with its interlocutors, sometimes new themselves, following political developments in some Middle East and North Africa countries… more