The EU’s travel restriction was an attempt to hold off the hardening of borders between EU nations themselves. Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland tightened their borders without coordinating with other EU countries. Even Angela Merkel’s Germany — which provided the kindling for populist movements across the Continent with its open-borders approach to the 2015 migrant crisis — restricted travel without coordinating with its neighbors.
Such restrictions are the least of it. Italy has had trouble importing masks because European countries have been working to hold on to supplies, indeed, to hold on to food. According to The Wall Street Journal, “German officials said their restrictions were partly designed to safeguard supplies at German supermarkets from French shoppers.”
So much for a new era of European solidarity dissolving historic, centuries-old political and cultural divisions.
In a crisis, no one says, “Please, ship overseas medical gear we might need here at home — we are citizens of the world too broad-minded to care about the interests of our own people over the interests of anyone else.”