Siim Kallas: EU leadership been very weak in coronavirus crisis ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

European Union leadership has been particularly weak through the coronavirus pandemic, Siim Kallas (Reform), deputy Riigikogu speaker and a former European Commission Vice-President.

"It's painful to see what's happening at the core of the EU," Kallas wrote in a piece on daily Eesti Päevaleht's website Sunday (link in Estonian).

"The EU has not been able to prevent an explosion of extreme protectionism. Borders are closed, the movement of necessary goods has been prevented. If, for example, it is true that the Dutch government has requisitioned a consignment of medical supplies meant for Estonia, this is an indescribable foolishness," he went on.

As to the reasons why this might be, Kallas pointed to the current EU leadership as being particularly ineffective.

"I would argue that the leadership of the EU is notably weak at present. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, leaves an uncertain and unconvincing impression compared with his predecessors, Herman Van Rompuy and Donald Tusk. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is a secondary German politician with no independent political capital or experience in running the country, so her word among European heads of state and government is not carrying any sway. There is no consensus within the Commission Vice President, Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans, who is angry that he did not become President of the Commission, and does not particularly recognize the authority of the President of the Commission."

Kallas adds that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has played a major role for a long time, seems to have stepped down and that French President Emmanuel Macron is causing more problems than solutions.

Additionally, the European Parliament had so far not provided anything of substance.

"The European Parliament is completely unnoticeable," Kallas said.

Siim Kallas is also a former Estonian prime minister.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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