Major regional discrepancies in COVID-19 response
EU regions were unevenly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report published on Monday 12th October by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).
The most economically hard-hit regions were those under strict lockdown measures for the longest – not necessarily those with the highest death-rates or most cases detected, it finds.
Meanwhile, nearly 60 percent of Europeans think more influence in policy-making by local authorities would help the EU overcome the economic and social impact of the pandemic, the report states.
While Europeans trust local and regional government more than they trust national governments or the EU itself to handle the pandemic, citizens from northern and western countries in particular have higher confidence in local and regional authorities than those in the south and east of the EU.
Mayors and regional governors have been in charge of enforcing quarantines, distributing aid, mobilising public resources, ensuring the effective delivery of public services, particularly in the area of healthcare, and planning lockdown relaxation measures.
The Covid-19 crisis has accentuated the need for effective coordination between decentralised and centralised powers.
“These challenging times could be turned into an opportunity to reinforce local democracy and to reflect collectively on Europe’s founding values during the Conference on the future of Europe,” reads the CoR report.
The EU regions previously said that the delayed conference should take place as soon as possible as it is a “timely opportunity” to debate how to make local and regional authorities fully-involved in the EU-wide response to Covid-19.