Solidarity in times of crisis: transatlantic cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic

NATO is providing support in the fight against coronavirus

NATO is providing support in the fight against coronavirus, © dpa-Zentralbild

15.05.2020 - Article

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation between the transatlantic allies has become technologically more complex and at the same time all the more important.

The partners are therefore closely coordinating their efforts to bring home stranded tourists, find a vaccine and restore the global economy.

Even in the times of COVID-19, the transatlantic allies can rely on one another. Transnational problems such as the repatriation of stranded tourists, coordination of the search for a vaccine and dealing with the consequences for the global economy can only be tackled by states working together. The transatlantic partners particularly, as strong economies, intend to shoulder responsibility in this tense global situation.

In a weekly telephone conference, the state secretaries from the foreign ministries of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France and Germany, as well as the EU and NATO, have been discussing their joint crisis management. This week, Miguel Berger, the new State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, also attended for the first time.

Foreign Minister Maas stated:

Particularly the strongest economies must now act together responsibly in a spirit of solidarity and look beyond their own interests.

Solving pressing problems together

At the beginning of the crisis, the main focus was on concrete repatriation problems: how can tourists in a country under lockdown get to the nearest airport? Where should passengers from a cruise ship disembark and return to their home countries? Initially, the availability of personal protective equipment was also an urgent problem, which required close coordination between the state secretaries.

Not losing sight of the long-term consequences of the crisis

At the moment, the long-term consequences of the crisis are increasingly taking centre stage: coordinating the quest to find a vaccine, protecting central economic supply chains, dealing with disinformation in the crisis and supporting fragile states, whose institutions are often overwhelmed by the pandemic. The international community will only have a chance of withstanding these setbacks if it works together.

Already more than 100 NATO operations in the fight against the coronavirus

The NATO allies are also cooperating closely to fight the virus. The broad experience that the Alliance has with crisis situations is an advantage in this situation. To date, NATO forces have undertaken more than 100 operations to support NATO allies and partners by flying in urgently needed medical personnel, transporting patients, building field hospitals and carrying tonnes of protective Equipment.


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