Africa-EU after COVID-19 — let’s start with vaccines

12:35-13:25 CEST – 6 May 2021

Conversation between

José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Gavi Board and President of the European Commission 2004-2014 and Giorgia Giovannetti, Visiting Fellow, Robert Schuman Centre, EUI and Professor of Economics, University of Florence


Giorgia Giovannetti, Visiting Fellow, Robert Schuman Centre, EUI and Professor of Economics, University of Florence


Jane Kabubo-Mariara, Executive Director of the Partnership for Economic Policy and Professor of Economics, University of Nairobi

Stefano Manservisi, Special Advisor to Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni and Chair, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund 

Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

Although Africa has managed to resist COVID-19 remarkably well, the economic consequences have been disastrous. For the first time after 25 years of continuous economic growth, Africa is facing a recession. COVID-19 has also led to increased protectionism and a delay in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. Furthermore, COVID-19 may be here to stay and could be the first of a series of “new infections” in a highly interconnected world. Considering Sub Saharan African countries’ economic structure, rapid urbanization, and often unreliable health infrastructures, and accounting for the fact that health security is a global public good, it is particularly important to have rapid and equitable access to vaccines. In many countries, health systems need to be strengthened and logistical capacity for vaccinations should be created. This panel will discuss these issues with a particular focus on policies to mitigate health, economic and social effects of the COVID-19 crisis, the global public goods nature of health security, the difficulties of planning a large-scale immunization, vaccination campaigns and prioritization and logistics.

Ethics and efficiency in vaccine distribution

12:35 – 13:25 CEST – 6 May 2021


Ellen Immergut, Head of Department of Political and Social Sciences and Chair in Political Sciences, EUI


Amanda Glassman, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Sandy Tubeuf,
Professor of Health Economics, Université Catholique de Louvain

Arnout van de Rijt,
Chair in Sociology, Department of Political and Social Sciences, EUI

This panel will address two key problems underpinning the ethics and efficacy of the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. First, the key assumptions that guide the ethics of vaccine distribution remain uncertain, such as whether the vaccines stop transmission or only prevent severe illness. Second, the most efficacious methods for distribution may conflict with both ethical guidelines and public sentiment. Ethical discussions have revolved around protecting the vulnerable, while public opinion often is based on ideas about ‘deservingness.’ But neither perspective may actually be the best guide for actually stopping the pandemic. This panel will discuss scientific findings based on simulation models of vaccine distribution, public opinion surveys, and comparative policy analysis of vaccine distribution.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic change citizens’ attitudes towards the EU, towards national governments and towards each other?

15:00 – 15:30 CEST – 7 May 2021


Philipp Genschel, Joint Chair in European Public Policy at the Department of Social and Political Science and Robert Schuman Centre, EUI

Anton Hemerijck, Chair in Political Science and Sociology, EUI

Mohamed Nasr, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, EUI

This presentation will report on the results of the April 2021 wave of the EUI-YouGov European Solidarity Survey and compare them to previous years. Did COVID-19 enhance or erode trust in national governments? Did it boost or undermine public support for the EU and for European integration? How did it affect the willingness to share resources – money, medical equipment, intensive-care beds, or vaccines – across European borders? How did the pandemic change citizens’ perceptions of policy priorities and challenges? European averages will be explained, as well as variation across member states, social classes, and political preferences (left-right; cosmopolitan – nationalist). Areas of continuity and change will be identified and compared to 2020 and 2019.

In collaboration with: