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Four priorities for a global pandemic strategy

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Brussels – The contrast between the silence of Europe’s streets and squares and the tumultuous, painful reality in many of its hospitals is heartbreaking. COVID-19 has not only Europe but the entire global community in its grip. It is already clear that the pandemic will reshape our world. But precisely how will depend on the choices that we make today.

The coronavirus should be seen as the world’s common enemy. Though this is not a war, we nevertheless need a “war-like” mobilization of resources.

But in times of crisis, our instinct is to turn inward, to fend for ourselves. This reaction, though understandable, is self-defeating. Going it alone all but guarantees that the fight will last longer, and that the human and economic costs will be far higher. Although the enemy has triggered nationalist reflexes, we can defeat it only with cross-border coordination – in Europe and beyond.

We need a common international approach to the pandemic and for assisting the most vulnerable, not least those in developing countries and conflict zones. I have emphasized this point in recent discussions with G7 foreign ministers and many others. The European Union must and will be a part of the effort.

Now is the time to show that solidarity is not an empty phrase. Fortunately, that is already being demonstrated in Europe, where France and Austria are sending more than three million masks to Italy, and where Germany is taking in and treating patients from France and Italy. After a first phase of diverging national decisions, we are now entering a phase of convergence in which the EU takes center stage.

For its part, the organization is stepping up with decisions to........

© The Japan Times