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B2 goes into 'coronavirus free' mode (v2)

(B2) After the decisions taken in France and Belgium, as in Italy before, the lockdown (closure of schools, cafes, restaurants and bars, shops, performance halls) becomes the norm in Europe

To cover or not to cover?

The word Coronavirus (Covid-19 for the experts) is now on everyone's lips, on the front page of all the media, such as the internet, in 'full time' TV or radio broadcasts. It's logic. This sudden epidemic is likely to affect everyone. And the circles of power are not exempt from this. On the contrary, they are the first to be affected, as proved by the first alerts in the European defense community (read: Coronavirus strikes at the heart of European defense). Is this the essence of the world today? Should we add a layer to this media over-coverage? Shouldn't we look elsewhere? Here are the questions we can (should) ask ourselves.

Equally serious crises today

Compared to other challenges and issues in the world, this epidemic is undoubtedly (very) serious. But not the absolute drama. Consider that the Syrian conflict causes more than a hundred deaths a day, not counting the wounded and traumatized for life. This for nine years and for a country of barely 18 million inhabitants (the equivalent of the population of the Netherlands). Much more - over time - than the pace of Covid-19. The latent conflict in the Sahel and its dozens of regular military and civilian deaths every week cannot be overlooked. Even the forgotten conflict in eastern Ukraine still causes a few deaths a day (more than ten on days of crisis), this since 2014 and for a country with barely 45 million inhabitants. Etc.

Should we add a layer of anxiety?

The subject is very covered. And we don't see what more B2 could really add. We are not going to count, country by country, the measures taken or the victims or people affected. It wouldn't make sense. It would add an extra layer of anxiety.

Rule parsimony

We have therefore decided, from today, to cover this subject, in the most limited way. There is no question of ignoring it completely. But we will do it, sparingly, when and where it seems very necessary because there are geopolitical consequences (read for example: China comes to the aid of Italy) or in operational terms. We will also continue to monitor the institutional consequences, mainly in our watch book.

Look elsewhere

Making it the central point of the news would be a mistake, especially for a site devoted to geopolitics and European issues. We think it is just as important to look elsewhere, taking advantage of this lull in European news to cover, or deepen, certain subjects that we have not had time to deal with. On our two editions (blog and pro), as well as on our educational edition (files and Quezako memo sheets), we want to devote at least 50% of our news feed to different subjects. We are thus starting a series of articles on the crises and conflicts of the world.

Le B2 site will therefore be from today 'Coronavirus-free'. Well at least everything we can. A terminology that takes up that of theItar-free' in progress in the defense industry, among supporters of strategic autonomy (no components subject to authorization by US Itar regulations), or 'gluten-free' in use in food for allergy sufferers.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

updated with a precision on the quantified objective to cover subjects outside Coronavirus

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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