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Why Europe’s Pandemic Recovery Deal Is a Big Deal

Members of Spain's military emergencies unit prepare to undertake a deep clean operation at the Port of Barcelona in March.

Members of Spain's military emergencies unit prepare to undertake a deep clean operation at the Port of Barcelona in March.

Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg
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When Italy and Spain became early pandemic hot spots in March, it looked like the virus might claim another victim: the cohesion of the European Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid-19 outbreak represented the most serious existential threat the EU had ever faced. The risk was that the political bloc’s 27 nations, seeking a united response to the deepest recession in generations, would be torn apart by old divisions — notably between richer northern nations and the southern countries worst-hit by the pandemic. Instead, they came together to agree on a jointly funded recovery plan.