Foreign and Security Policy

Covid-19 and its implications for transatlantic relations

A discussion between Nicholas Burns and Sigmar Gabriel

Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard University, discussed the effect the current pandemic has on the relationship between Europe and the United States with Atlantik-Brücke-Chairman Sigmar Gabriel.

Both Sigmar Gabriel and Nicholas Burns agreed that it is natural for governments to turn inwards during a crisis and to care for the health and well-being of their respective population. However, this should not distract from the fact that this is a global health crisis, which will be followed by a global economic crisis. Hence a global effort is not just desirable, but necessary. Ambassador Burns emphasized the need for cooperation within the G20. Meanwhile, Mr. Gabriel pointed out that the developing world now sees China as its main partner in fighting the corona virus, a role that the emerging superpower is happy to assume.

Although it is not too late for the transatlantic partners to lead the global effort in overcoming this pandemic and the economic shock, the current US administration gives little reason for hope that it will change its course, and on the other side of the Atlantic, Europe seems to be struggling to come to terms with its own internal divisions and export bans that prevented medical equipment from reaching Italy when the pandemic.

The discussion was moderated by Atlantik-Brücke’s Executive Director David Deissner.

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