Opinion & Analysis

Policy Insight | Crisis decision-making. How Covid-19 has changed the working methods of the EU institutions

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the dynamics of the EU institutions to change. Much attention has been paid to the functioning of the EU institutions at the highest political level, but less so at the working levels of the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament (EP).

What was the nature of EU action in this time and how well did the decision-making machinery work? This contribution analyses all three main institutions by: a) describing how decisions are usually made; b) exploring how they were made in corona times; and c) assessing how well the individual institutions were equipped and able to adapt to these unusual circumstances.

It finds that the handling of these challenges varied greatly across the three institutions, largely because of structural reasons and differences in institutional DNA. Overall, crisis decision-making has worked surprisingly well, as the EU’s machinery is multilayered and has proved to be solid and resilient. Interinstitutional crisis coordination is yet to be improved.

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© European Union, 2020, Source: Council of the EU – Audiovisual resources