As the Pandemic Rages On, It's Time for NATO to Step Up
In the spring, as COVID-19-related deaths mounted in Spain and Italy, the European Union (EU) was slow to respond. National governments imposed bans on the export of medical equipment, complicating assistance efforts. A poll in March showed that 88 percent of Italians said the EU had not done enough to support them in their hour of need. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later apologized for the delayed reaction from Brussels.
At the same time, the United States was struggling with its own response to the pandemic. Despite a steady stream of press releases from the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development about U.S. assistance, many European requests for help went unfulfilled. A U.S. shipment of ventilators to NATO was not delivered until September. The perception in Europe was that the world’s most powerful country was too preoccupied with its own problems to be of much help.