More than thirty heads of state and heads of government participated in the Munich Security Conference in February 2020. They addressed disharmony within the West on key military security issues, such as defence and armaments, against a backdrop of populist, sovereign, and neo-nationalist movements. Tension among great powers, especially the strained relationship between Europe and Trump’s America, highlights the fine line separating security and insecurity. In the months following the conference, the Covid-19 pandemic spread rapidly throughout the world. The magnitude of the emergency transcends public health issues and encompasses economic, social, and political challenges. Oblivious to national borders, the current crisis is reshaping the frameworks previously underpinning the conditions of European security. The collective perception of the latter has also changed. The very survival of Europe is at stake in the quest for a new political rationale capable of bringing about a secure future.
Gian Enrico Rusconi formerly taught Political Science at the University of Turin.