MAECENATA STIFTUNG: In the Corona Crisis – A Voice from Civil Society

Report by Maecenata Stiftung, originally published on 8 May 2020 in German here

Author: Rupert Graf Strachwitz

European governments are reacting differently to the Corona crisis. This also applies to their approach to civil society. And civil society itself is also acting and reacting differently.

A look across the borders

Europe has been affected by Covid-19 to various degrees. While Italy and Spain had to bear unimaginable burdens and Great Britain was also hit particularly hard – not to mention the conditions in the refugee camps in Greece – as a result of the weakness of the government’s decision, other countries are getting off relatively lightly, at least so far. Each government has been faced with different decisions because it has to deal with different situations – public health, the elderly, etc. Everywhere, however, there is a need for joint reflection and solidarity across all kinds of borders. Taking the opportunity for political profiling is shabby; trusting only your own experts and commentators who, for whatever reason, have access to the media microphones is not enough. Even in civil society, which usually does not have this approach, there are experts.

It is irresponsible for governments not to cooperate using all available forces. Civil society has forces at its disposal, but it is also affected. Differences arise here that have nothing to do with different initial situations or circumstances. Rather, it becomes clear what was also present before: a great diversity in the relationship between the state and the civil society in the country. In the first phase, the focus was primarily on the large non-profit service organizations. Emergency services and patient transport and a large number of outpatient social services were and are more than ever in demand during the pandemic.

Read the full analysis below (in German)