Crisis Talk on 23 June 2021

Even though the end of the global pandemic is not yet on the horizon, the EU Commission is taking stock of the crisis management up tp now. Last week, the Commission published a communication on ten lessons to be learned from the course of the crisis so far – from early detection and preparedness to research and the fight against disinformation. This was the topic discussed by Prof. Dr. Nicole Deitelhoff (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) and Kim Eling (Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Crisis Management, European Commission) at the 17th Crisis Talk.

The European Union is usually seen as much worse than it really is.

Nicole Deitelhoff

In her keynote, Nicole Deitelhoff first argued that the EU's crisis management has been far better than it is often portrayed. The EU has often used crises as an impetus for change. In the course of the corona pandemic, financial efforts were made on an unimagined scale, which at the same time also meant political changes outside the community treaties. Mark Weinmeister (Secretary of State for European Affairs of the State of Hessen) also emphasized the socio-economic dimension of the corona crisis in his welcoming speech. By the same token, as Nicole Deitelhoff emphasized, the EU's permanent crisis mode, which could already be observed before the pandemic, should be viewed more critically. On the one hand, itimpaired the democratic quality of political decision-making processes, and on the other hand, it did not lead to long-term political solutions.

Gudrun Engel (WDR), as moderator, followed this up with a question to Kim Eling about the extent to which the EU had really been prepared for such a situation. Although there have been experiences with regional health crises in the recent past, such as the ebola virus, Kim Eling replied that the EU was not prepared for a situation like the corona crisis. However, according to Nicole Deitelhoff, this is what makes a real crisis, namely that it cannot be predicted in this way. Preparing for "crisis" must therefore consist primarily of providing crisis management structures, she said.

At the end of the talk, the global responsibility of the EU was discussed, which Rebecca Schmidt (Goehte University/Normative Orders) already emphasized in her welcoming address. According to Kim Eling, this has been an important concern of the Commission from the very beginning. Nicole Deitelhoff used a comparison with the U.S. to make clear that the EU had also taken a more constructive role here than other global powers, for example in vaccine distribution. On this note, this event in the series Crisis Talks, which are jointly organized by the Leibniz Research Alliance "Crises in a Globalised World", the Representation of the State of Hesse to the EU, the Research Alliance "Normative Orders" and the Leibniz Europe Office, ended.

Crisis Talk: Lessons from the pandemic – European and Global Crisis Management of the EU. Livestream provided by Hessen in Berlin und Europe (simultaneous interpretation English/German).

Mark Weinmeister
Secretary of State for European Affairs of the State of Hessen

Rebecca Schmidt
Goethe University Frankfurt/Normative Orders


Prof Dr Nicole Deitelhoff
Leibniz Peace Research Institute Frankfurt/Speaker Leibniz Research Alliance “Crises in a Globalised World”

Panel discussion

Prof Dr Nicole Deitelhoff

Kim Eling
Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Crisis Management, European Commission


Gudrun Engel
TV-Correspondent, WDR

The "Crisis Talks" lunchtime debate series, organized by the Leibniz Research Alliance "Crises in a Globalized World", addresses how the European Union deals with crises and what we have learned from previous crisis situations. The "Crisis Talks" lunchtime debate series is organised since Juni 2015 by the Leibniz Research Alliance "Crises in a Globalized World" in the representation of the State of Hessen to the EU in Brussels.