Who’s first wins? International crisis response to COVID-19 (EUISS)

European Union Institute for Security Studies | Report published 20 May 2020 | Authors: Florence GaubLotje Boswinkel

In this Brief, we put this hypothesis to the test: did democracies really respond less swiftly than authoritarian systems – and if the determining factor is not the political system, what are the key elements in crisis response?

“The Covid-19 pandemic appears to be not just a test for healthcare systems around the world, but an international contest for which country has the best political system. As the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), boasted in an article published in early March, “China’s battle against the epidemic showed that the CCP, as China’s ruling party, is by far the political party with the strongest governance capability in human history.”1 It pointed the finger at Europe for “acting too little and too late, and largely failing to stem the tide”.2 Slow response time, high rates of transmission, and a general unwillingness to impose restrictive emergency measures were ascribed to the inherent deficiencies of open democratic, liberal systems, making them appear unfit to deal with health crises or indeed for governance generally.”

Read the full report (external link to EUISS website)