Blog post 200410

Overcoming covid-19 crises
by building a clean and resilient Europe

By Thomas Pellerin-Carlin, Director of the Jacques Delors Energy Centre, Andreas Eisl, Research fellow at the Jacques Delors Institute, & Emilie Magdalinski, Research fellow at the Jacques Delors Energy Centre.

The authors would like to thank Jeff Benzak, Thierry Chopin, Marie Delair, Elvire Fabry, Sofia Fernandes, Sébastien Maillard, Léa Pilsner, Nils Redeker, Peter Sweatman and Jean-Arnold Vinois for their valuable comments and ideas.

Covid-19 has already taken tens of thousands of lives and put entire countries on lockdown. It has triggered the worst economic crisis since World War II. In this unprecedented situation this policy brief aims to shed some light on what has already happened and what may happen in the future, yet remaining humble in the face of the uncertainties on the length and magnitude of the Covid-19 health and economic crises.
What is however certain is that European societies have a choice. They can choose to follow the path of a single-minded focus on ‘returning to normal’. Or they can instead choose to address the major health and economic crises by embracing a forward-looking vision, one that places human and societal resilience at the heart of the continent’s Covid-19 response, which will notably impact our energy and mobility systems during and after the crises.

The fact is, getting back to the way things were in 2019 is the wrong objective. In today’s context, a return to this ‘normal’ would actually represent a big step backward. It would be a return to a society neither resilient to pandemics, nor able to protect the very environmental conditions that are essential to our health and security.

This policy brief highlights actions the European Union can undertake during each of the three main phases of Covid-19 crisis response: crisis management, economic recovery and fiscal consolidation. It specifically focuses on the energy and mobility tools that can help address the Covid-19 health and economic crises, and that are vital tools to deliver a clean and resilient Europe in the near future.