Europeans are incredibly lucky to largely not know what it feels like to fear for their lives due to war and violence. Yet suddenly, communities in Europe share characteristics with people who live in countries with violent conflict: coronavirus makes lives precarious and incomes unstable. It shows what it’s like when public services are underfunded, unreliable and insufficient.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered important debates about technological and industrial sovereignty in Europe. The lack of essential equipment such as respiratory devices and protective gear underscored the weaknesses of supply chains largely dependent on Chinese producers.
Scientists are particularly exposed in the current health crisis, where governments are using their advice to consolidate their decisions. Thus summoned as experts, also by the media, they find themselves both placed in collective responsibility, as is the case with the scientific council mobilised around the French government, and exposed individually. They also constitute a reference point, to which one can refer in order to gradually build up, as a citizen, an understanding of the situation. The role of science within society and in relation to the major political decisions that have to be made is thus extremely active, in various configurations, and subject to multiple pressures.
With a view to he upcoming AU Summit on 1-2 July in Nouakchott, Geert Laporte (ECDPM) examines the negotiating mandate of the ACP group.