The historic failure of the EU and nationalism in the Covid 19 pandemic


  • Roderic Pitty Deakin University



Covid 19, European Union, nationalism, normative power, per capita deaths


Analysis of per capita death rate figures from officially recorded deaths and credible estimates of excess deaths until late 2021 shows that almost all countries in the European Union (EU) performed poorly during the first two years of the Covid 19 pandemic. This historic failure is linked to previous processes of disintegration, including the impact of prolonged austerity policies on the capacity of public health systems. Forms of nationalism that have obstructed European cooperation during the pandemic are examined, together with low levels of public satisfaction with the EU’s response in core countries. A deeper cause of the EU’s pandemic failure was its inability to achieve significant institutional renewal. One consequence of this failure has been to reveal the EU’s weak normative power and declining global influence, shown by its inability to supply Covid vaccines to associated countries, and by its reluctance to lead a prompt, effective global vaccination effort.

Author Biography

Roderic Pitty, Deakin University

Honorary Research Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne.



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