Centre news
29.03.2020

New Statesman - The crisis trap: why the EU must not sideline democracy as it tackles coronavirus

History shows that when leaders are forced to take emergency action, power tends to be relocated to small and opaque groups says our Visitng Fellow Jonathan White.

There have been many calls for stronger European-level action to tackle the coronavirus. Yet some believe that the EU was not designed to deal with public health emergencies. But there is a risk in such contexts that moving too slowly leaves EU leaders feeling pressured to act decisively nonetheless, ultimately in ways that are hard to monitor or constrain. Jonathan White (LSE) argues in his op-ed that "EU decision-making, which is hard to scrutinise at the best of times, is decidedly more so in times of emergency". Emergency measures aim to solve specific problems but the way they relate to general principles may seem ambiguous.

Jonathan White is a professor of politics at the LSE and currently a visiting fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre. His latest book, Politics of Last Resort: Governing by Emergency in the European Union, was published with Oxford University Press in 2019.

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Image: CC Waldemar Brandt, Source: Unsplash