In the shadow of COVID-19: the Euro-Atlantic area and the lasting heritage of the “long pandemic”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been - over the last twelve months - the most important event not only in the Euro-Atlantic area but globally. To make things more complex, the crisis intersected -- in the Euro-Atlantic area -- a delicate phase of transition, revolving, on the one hand, on the US vote on November 3, on the other on the review of the role of NATO and the European Union. In these areas too, COVID-19 has shuffled the cards. In the United States, it stressed the weakness of the two candidates and the ambiguity of the consensus they enjoy. In Europe, it scaled down the ambitions of the von der Leyen Commission and its ability to think and act in more "geopolitical" terms than its predecessors. Overall, these developments outline a complex scenario, in which the evolution of the global scene link to the specificities of a Euro- Atlantic area where the "traditional" balances have long been in question. In all probability, the main factor of dynamism, in this process, will be represented, in the coming months, by the time necessary to reach the identification, production and distribution of an effective vaccine against the virus. "Uncertainty" remains, therefore, the most appropriate word to represent the future. The questions of European and US policy support this judgement. Beyond the concrete outcome, the vote on November 3 in the United States will most likely accentuate the political polarisation of the country and the difficulties that the two major parties have been experiencing for some time. Equally, the immediate needs affect, on the European side, the ability of the institutions to act from a "strategic" point of view, calling into question the possibility, for the newly installed Commission, of realising the ambitions expressed at the beginning of its mandate. Therefore, the risk is that the continuation of the pandemic will jeopardise the fragile consensus on which the EU's action has rested in 2020. In other words, the risk is an increase in the divisions that affected the Euro-Atlantic area in recent years and that -- due also to the progressive strengthening of other international players -- may further weaken the foundations of a "liberal order" on which the centrality of the Europe/United States nexus has been based until now
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnalisi Strategica del 2020 Euro/Atlantica (USA-NATO-Partners) / Year 2020, Strategic Analysis Euro/Atlantic (USA-NATO-Partners)
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Alleanza Atlantica
  • COVID-19 - Stati Uniti
  • Rapporti Stati-Uniti-Europa


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