What Can the EU's Response to the COVID Crisis Tell us About our Values?


  • Andrei Nuțaș PhD Student, Doctoral School of Philosophy, Sociology and Political Science, West University of Timisoara, Bulevardul Vasile Pârvan 4, Timişoara 300223, Romania




privacy, liberty, track-and-trace, values, COVID-19


Overall, the EU's response to the COVID crisis can be said to have been one of the most ineffective in the world, overshadowed only by the catastrophic response of the US and Brazil (at least on a per capita basis). Although, one can argue more about the effectiveness or morality of the measures, I would nevertheless, like to take a step back from these discussions and consider what the non-pharmacological interventions the EU has imposed reveal about our values. The main question is: What was the axiological framework on which the EU interventions were based? To provide an answer, I will compare the EU approach with South Korea’s approach in dealing with the pandemic. The former’s approach is a traditional approach, which mostly avoids the use of advanced data analysis and predictive analysis, focusing mainly on restricting free movement through social distancing and quarantine. This is complemented by tests, which are primarily diagnostic. The latter makes full use of the most modern methods, attempting to parallel the minimisation of the use of traditional methods of restricting movement with the minimisation of deaths caused by the virus. After a more detailed presentation of the methodologies of the two sides, I will consider what these modern methods entail and what would have to be sacrificed to use them. This will reveal that giving up confidentiality is the main cost that the European community should have offered in exchange for following the South Korean path. The analysis of the data will show how privacy and other values, such as economic prosperity, education, equality, freedom, mental health and ultimately life itself, were affected by the two strategies. Based on the evidence from the analysis I will conclude that privacy is more important to the average European than any of the other proposed values, including life itself.


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How to Cite

Nuțaș, A. (2021). What Can the EU’s Response to the COVID Crisis Tell us About our Values? . Journal for Social Media Inquiry, 3(1), 32-49. https://doi.org/10.18662/jsmi/3.1/15

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