In Focus

The COVID-19 crisis has had terrible effects on the European economy and once again brought to the spotlight the big divide between Northern and Southern Europe. However, the EU today has proved to be able to respond to this historic challenge unlike after the 2008 financial crisis. At that time, Southern European member states were the main victims of the EU’s wrong, short-sighted economic decisions that created dangerous divisions within the EU threatened with the EU’s collapse. Last year, however, the EU made a U-turn on its former approach: the European debt mutualisation and the creation of a revolutionary recovery fund, symbolically called Next Generation EU, represent a complete reversal of the former crisis-management approach, and, therefore, Italy and Spain, together with other countries in the Mediterranean region, might be their biggest beneficiaries.

This issue aims at showing that Mediterranean Europe, contrary to the common perception, represents a very heterogeneous group of countries with only a few similarities among its members. Our authors intend to shed light on each country’s particularities, showing that any prejudicial classification is flawed. There is one element, however, which currently unites all of them: their awareness of facing a momentous crisis and a crucial generational challenge. This means that all their efforts will be directed at taking full advantage of this (hopefully not) one-shot fund which is their last chance to restore their competitiveness and to catch up with the EU’s core. Should they manage to do so, it will benefit the whole union and help the integration process enter a new and revolutionary phase.

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