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Kutsal Yesilkagit Discusses the Exit Strategies of European Governments in Dutch Newspaper De Volkskrant

More and more European governments are slowly but surely taking steps to ease the measures against corona. In Austria cafés and restaurants will reopen on 15 May, while in Italy they are planning to reopen on 1 June. The French will have to wait until the end of May to get some clarity. The pace with which the measures are being eased differs substantially from country to country.

These are not the only differences, countries are also presenting their plans in different ways. Italy and Spain, for instance, presented a detailed timeframe for reopening various public attractions. While Germany and the Netherlands were a lot more cautious laying out their timeframes. According to Kutsal Yesilkagit, Professor International Governance at Leiden University's Institute of Public Administration, this is in part because Spain and Italy have been hit very hard and the measures have had a profound impact on the lives of their citizens. 'I believe they're trying to offer them a clear perspective', says Yesilkagit. 'In the Netherlands there's a lot less pressure, because the lockdown was a lot less invasive. If Southern Europe comes out of lockdown in May, it will be in similar to the situation we’ve had here in the Netherlands over the last five weeks: stores will be open, citizens will be allowed to go out for non-essential reasons.' 


Research conducted Professor Yesilkagit and other Leiden Public Administration researcher shows that the way European governments initially responded to the pandemic differed considerably. 'Authoritarian countries, especially in Eastern Europe, were the fastest to respond. Southern Europe intervened drastically. Western European countries with a lot of freedom and a high level of social trust, both in the government as well as between citizens, were initially hesitant to implement drastic measures that interfered with the lives of their citizens. It would be interesting to see if countries with a high level of trust will also be the first to come out of lockdown, but it's to early to tell', says Yesilkagit.   

You can read the full article (in Dutch) on the website of Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant

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