Coronavirus Is Forcing Europe to Rediscover Civil Society

Firefighter ambulance crew members of the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service arrive on site for a rescue operation in Strasbourg, France, March 28, 2020. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)
The state alone can’t save Europe from COVID-19. But individuals just might.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A ndré Muswieck is a German fireman. At seven o’clock last Monday evening, the phone rang in his fire station in Bergen auf Rügen, 200 kilometers from Berlin. On the other side of the line there was no fire, at least not the kind he usually puts out. It was the voice of German chancellor Angela Merkel, who wanted to know what he considered his most important contribution to society. Muswieck was not rude, but he was laconic: “Listen, I’m not in the mood for f***ing radio jokes right now.” And he hung up.

Merkel isn’t used to being hung up on.

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