Too unpredictable to be tamed? The management of emergencies in the EU

The COVID-19 crisis has put the EU under strain. National and EU authorities had to cooperate to contain the spreading of a deadly virus. Yet, most of the EU adopted measures have been the result of complex political compromises among the heads of the EU states, in the absence of common rules on these matters. The lack of provisions on the management of emergencies in the EU is controversial. First, a pan-European approach to tackle crises is necessary in light of the interconnectivity of national markets. Second, the EU has experienced several emergencies. For instance, some ten years ago, the EU institutions were confronted with a global financial crisis and adopted measures to salvage national economies. The questions thus arise as to whether the EU institutions should have ‘general emergency’ powers, and how to best ensure effective cooperation between the EU and national authorities in the tackling of crises.