A map of Italy in a red bulls eye, with a background of floating virus cells.

Italy and the geopolitics of COVID-19

‘From Russia With Love’

April 2021, Number 11.01

When it comes to humanitarian crises and disaster, geopolitical games are usually suspended. That has not been the case with the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, the outbreak reignited past discontent in a European Union recovering from a “decade of division,” as Forbes magazine described it, caused by the 2008 financial crisis, the 2015 migration crisis and culminated in the Brexit process. In this already fractured context, the spread of COVID-19 has contributed to exacerbating the so-called North-South fracture. This divide has become even more evident now that the EU is working on a unitary economic response to the damage inflicted by the pandemic.

Italy, the first to be hit so violently by the virus, demanded more incisive responses from its “Northern brothers” to the damage to its economy and health system. Unfortunately, when Italy called for rapid intervention and begged for solidarity, the EU was unable to respond quickly and effectively. Rather, European states initially adopted a nationalistic me-first approach that has rendered the ground fertile to the growth of Euroskeptical sentiments...

Excerpt from Ludovica Balducci, “‘From Russia With Love,’” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 11, No. 1, 2021: 10-15.

Ludovica Balducci has a master’s degree in international relations with a specialization in international security from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her research focused on terrorism, geopolitics, transnational crime and the European Union, with a thesis on regional approaches to human trafficking and a published brief on human trafficking in the European Union.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.