Sorry for our title but Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s apology to Italy for the EU’s collective response to the country’s covid-19 suffering is a far worse joke. This is what she told the EU Parliament on Thursday :
“It is true that no one was really ready for this. It is also true that too many were not there on time when Italy needed a helping hand at the very beginning. And yes, for that, it is right that Europe as a whole offers a heartfelt apology.”
It’s a rare apology from the top but the bad joke came next:
“The truth is that it did not take long before everyone realised that we must protect each other to protect ourselves. And the truth is too that Europe has now become the world’s beating heart of solidarity.”
Italy was the first EU country to be seriously affected by the disease and asked its EU partners for help by providing medical supplies. None responded, except that France, Germany and the Czech Republic banned the export of protective equipment. China, Russia and even Cuba did answer the plea, maybe that was for propaganda reasons but it was better than the two fingers the others showed. Eventually some help has been given, a few Italians have been treated in other countries’ hospitals and some equipment has been forthcoming but it’s very late and Italy is past its initial peak when it mattered most. There is still no adequate response to the economic crisis this will cause. 
Previous Commission President Jean-Claude Junker had the sauce to make many outrageous claims on behalf of the European Union, the most apposite in this situation might be, “Solidarity is the glue that keeps our Union together”.
Von der Leyen’s boast caps any Junker made, but then as he also said (reportedly), “When it becomes serious, you have to lie.” This is more serious than any crisis the Union has faced before, its heart may stop beating.
 What a Pantomime
 From Junker’s ‘State Of The Union‘ address in 2016