As the global community continues to grapple with COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Atlantic Council is open for business. All business, meetings, and events, however, are occurring virtually. For more information, please view a statement from our President and CEO.

The COVID-19 crisis is a moment of truth for the European Union, which was built on a narrative of shared responsibility, solidarity, and multilateralism.

This crisis, the latest in a series of difficult circumstances that has hit the continent, presents unique challenges to the long-held pillars of the EU—free movement, data privacy, consumer protection, rule of law, and even the competences of the Union and Member States outlined in the treaties. With travel restrictions, severe economic downturns in the hardest-hit Member States, interrupted supply chains, and national leaders taking advantage of the crisis for their own gains, there are certainly causes for concern.

However, both the EU and Member States have taken on an ambitious agenda to pool resources to confront the immediate public health concerns, and they are currently drawing up plans for short- and long-term economic recovery that will restore growth and establish the EU as a global leader in environmental and consumer protection. The most recent proposal, still under tense discussion between leaders, would establish an EU-wide pandemic recovery fund, supported by borrowing by the entire bloc. There is still work to do as EU leaders debate the best way forward and fight internal divisions on rule of law and combat foreign influence operations, but after a rocky start, Europeans are standing in solidarity.

Italian Minister of European Affairs Vincenzo Amendola and Spanish State Secretary for the European Union Juan González-Barba Pera will outline the coordinated efforts of the EU and its Member States and reflect on the lessons learned from this crisis and what it means for European solidarity after the pandemic. Vincenzo Amendola was appointed as Minister for European Affairs in September 2019. He previously served as Secretary of State to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from 2016 to 2018.

Prior to his appointment in February 2020, Juan González-Barba Pera was Spanish Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey and non-resident Ambassador to Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Please join the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and the National Italian American Foundation on Friday, May 29, from 8:00am to 8:45am EDT via Zoom. In order to participate in the event, please register using the form below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join. 

Region Spotlight

The Future Europe Initiative promotes the transatlantic leadership and strategies required to ensure a strong Europe.

About the National Italian American Foundation

Based in Washington, D.C., the National Italian American Foundation was founded in 1975 as a nonprofit organization with the mission to strengthen and empower the political, economic and cultural ties between Italy and the United States. NIAF is the largest representative of the more than 20 million Italian Americans in the United States and actively collaborates with the United States Congress, the White House, the Italian Embassy in Washington and the United States Embassy in Rome, on all major issues affecting the bilateral relationship between the United States and Italy.