The coronavirus recovery will offer a unique opportunity to revive Europe

European flags fly in Parliament Square. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA.

European flags fly in Parliament Square. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA. - Credit: PA

Readers have their say on the EU, and Boris Johnson's refusal to extend the Brexit transition period, during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a European citizen, I feel offended by countries like Austria, Holland, Denmark and Sweden that put financial issues before solidarity even in these times of pandemic.

I would like a European government, I would like a European state, I would like the common fate of the continental peoples to be realised. Only together can we face the global challenges that lie ahead.

Countries like Austria, Holland, Denmark and Sweden are free to think differently and see Europe as an economic club functional to their national interests or whatever. But what those countries cannot expect is that I give up my European dream, that I give up building my new country.

This tragic pandemic could have been a historic opportunity to revive Europe. We are at a crossroads.

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A political and social Europe will only arise when all member states are politically and culturally ready and willing to put aside their national selfishness.

Tommaso Merlo

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The UK's ability to extend the period for negotiating a comprehensive future relationship with the EU27 runs out in a month.

Barring a breakthrough, this will mean the UK leaving the EU without any trading deal with the world's biggest economic bloc. The EU supplies 80% of our food imports and no-deal further damages an already crippled economy.

If forced back on a US deal on damaging terms, Scotland's agriculture industry could disappear overnight, our seafood industry perish, our universities go to the wall and the NHS begin to be sliced up into neat pieces for US companies to digest.

This will hit the UK at exactly the same time as we are struggling to recover from Covid-19, which is forecast to potentially lead to a 35% decline in UK economic output.

There is no need for this damaging double whammy. Polling points to the fact that 77% of British people (83% of those in Scotland) want a breathing space. They want the UK to ask for an extension to the transition period, but the UK government continues to rush towards the cliff edge.

At the very least we deserve this folly to be debated in parliament. A public debate is vital, ensuring that the opposition can challenge this situation, exposing it for what it is and the damage it will inevitably lead to.

Mark Lazarowicz

Chair, the European Movement in Scotland

Why is Boris Johnson so against extending the Brexit transition period? Is it because he fears the USA will be less keen on a trade deal with the UK if Joe Biden succeeds Donald Trump after the presidential election in November?

The USA has more to gain in helping to keep the EU intact rather than seeking to drive a wedge through it that – by adding to the instability in the world – will harm America defensively, economically and politically.

As president Harry S Truman argued in support of the Marshall Plan to help Europe recover after the last world war, for the US to be great, Europe must be, too.

Roger Hinds


Too late with testing, too late with PPE, too late with protection for care homes. So perhaps we should just expect the government to be too late with measures to manage arrivals into the country?

Testing, tracing and tracking of everyone who arrived in the UK, whether a UK citizen or not, should have started in early March. We let 11 planes land from Milan on one Sunday when it was clear we had a pandemic on our hands with no checks, and flights from all around the world have been arriving ever since.

Germany did the same for a brief while, hence comparatively major outbreaks around Dusseldorf, Munich and Stuttgart. However, the Germans had a very effective test, trace and track system in place very quickly, so they were able to stem the tide. 8,000 deaths compared with 36,000 (officially, we all know it's far more) in a smaller population.

It's difficult to overstate just how appallingly negligent this bluster-led government has been.

Phil Green

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