Europe has been having a debate which has proven toxic at times regarding coronabonds and the possibility of debt mutualization to aid the EU's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Germany has long proven reluctant to issue common debt with other EU countries, citing reasons such as difficulty balancing budgets and implementing structural reforms. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany and the Netherlands have been criticized by the two most badly impacted countries - Spain and Italy - who have been calling for a common debt instrument together with France.
That debate has overshadowed some important German contributions behind the scenes. The Luftwaffe, together with its French and Italian counterparts, has been flying criticially ill coronavirus patients back to Germany for ICU treatment from badly effected areas such as Northern Italy and Eastern France. On March 29 alone, the German airforce conducted two such flights, bringing 6 patients in severe condition from Bergamo to military hospitals around Germany while a second transport collected two seriously ill patients in the Eastern French city of Strasbourg. Experts have been puzzled by Germany's low death rate from COVID-19 which has been attributed to a mixture of younger people being infected, strong capacity at hospitals and a major early drive to implement testing.
That has seen German ICU units share their capacity with their neighbors and as of April 02, a total of 113 patients had been flown into German medical facilities from abroad according to a report in daily newspaper Merkur.de. 85 of them are from France, 26 are from Italy and two are from the Netherlands. It has been reported that Germany has also offered help to Spain but no patients have been transferred as of yet. As curves finally start to flatten in Spain and Italy, the EU's slow response to the pandemic and lack of solidarity in many places is likely to prove a painful learning experience. There are some positives, however, such as the assistance German hospitals have been providing to their counterparts in other countries during this difficult period.