A Silver Lining to the Covid Disaster?

Sep 10, 2020

Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Magnus Schöldtz, former Ambassador at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, talk about Europes challenges in this week’s podcast.

Ana Palacio is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and international lawyer specializing in international and European Union law. From 1994 to 2002, she was a member of the European Parliament, where she chaired the Legal Affairs and Internal Market as well as the Citizens Rights, Justice and Home Affairs Committees. Ana Palacio served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain (2002-2004) and was a member of the Spanish Parliament (2004-2006) where she chaired the Joint Committee of the two Houses for European Union Affairs. She has been Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group and Secretary General of ICSID (2006-2008). Palacio has been a member of the Executive Committee and Senior Vice-President for International Affairs of AREVA (2008-2009) and served on the Council of State of Spain (2012-2018).

Magnus Schöldtz is Senior Advisor at the Wallenberg Foundations AB, and a former Ambassador at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He has served in various diplomatic functions in relation to EU and Nato and the Middle East. Ambassador Schöldtz also held positions within United Nations in Lebanon and Somalia, and the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters.

He is Senior Advisor to Mr. Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman of Investor AB; Mr. Marcus Wallenberg, Chairman of SEB, Saab AB, and FAM and to Mr. Peter Wallenberg Jr. the Chairman of Wallenberg Foundations AB, as well as to several companies in the Wallenberg Sphere.

Closed borders, hoarded medical equipment, confused policies, nasty summits. By any measure, the pandemic has not been the EU’s finest hour.  But has it been bad enough that even Europe’s current leaders realize they must do better?  Might the failures of the last months result in a brighter future for Europe?

Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and a leading European and foreign affairs scholar, and Magnus Schöldtz, a former Swedish Ambassador and current Advisor at the Wallenberg Foundations, discuss Europe’s challenges and possibilities with Alan Stoga in this week’s “New Thinking for a New World” podcast.

Let us know what YOU think and leave a below.

Listen to the episode here or find us on a podcast platform of your choice, (Itunes, Spotify, Acast, StitcherLibsyn, etc).


  1. Faysal A Mohamed (PhD). International Affairs Advisor

    ٍSolidarity and Responsibility, are the greatest keywords/concepts your Excellency Ms Ana Polaco Former Minister of F.A ..to pick from this and needless to say that that the mainfold damage posed by Covid to the world economy , and the social well being of millions of people , means that it will take many years to recover.Certainly there needs to be more international solidarity in the form of greater political commitment across all nations towards ensuring access to equipment and materials so that developing countries are not disadvantaged.Consquently the need to envigour,strngthen international’s multilaterism ie the United Nations and in particular WHO in order to play a more effective role .. To this end , the current trends suggest that the process of implementation of SDGs ( which Sweeden is one of the Major donors to the UN ) , trends shows that SDGS might be delayed due to many set backs , social pressures .. ..whic are lowering the level of priority given to SDGs , such as fighting poverty or eradicating hunger ..etc .. I, think that this global crisis triggered by Covid 19 means that pursuing SDGS are more important now than before since they represent some of the means via which quality of life can be restored and many problems associated with the lack of water , food or poor health conditions .In doing so the momentum created by Covid 19 pandemic may also lead to a transformation from what is currently regarded as a global threat to a global opportunity , providing a new impulse leading to the realization of the UN Agenda 2030 and the SDGs in particular

  2. E. Chellappa

    This is high time that the World leaders get united and plan an all out attack on Covid 19. ( The Corona virus). But what prevents them from doing so? India and China the world’s biggest countries,by population of course, are more concerned about their border issue. The so called guardian of democracy the US is more worried (or annoyed) of Trump’s second coming. It is needless to point out the corruption prevailing in most of the countries where the vested interests convert every situation to their advantage. But is spite of all the hurdles the citizens of the world, must go ahead and and impress the people who are at the helm of affairs and see that they act. After all the virus if left unchecked will wipe out the entire human race. One of the lessons taught to students of chess is that attack is the best form of defense. The governments should plan to keep the streets clean and virus free instead of asking the people to stay home by imposing lock downs.

  3. Eman Elbadawi

    The situation is getting complicated especially that winter is approaching; we have to not lose hope; hope for a brighter future not only for Europe but also for the whole world; hope in God’s Mercy ….

  4. Sobhanund Seeparsad

    No doubt, nations all over the world are hard hit by Covid 19. The worst affected are the small island states that are mostly dependent on the developed rich economies.

    As is, in these small states the situation is getting from bad to worse, perhaps more than what is currently being felt elsewhere.

    We know the world economy is not going to be the same in future. To start breathing , we are bound to think differently and do things differently to survive and to come out of the rut.

    We need to have a United economic and social international body where all nations, big and small, can join in to think and work together for the welfare of humanity.

    United we can stand on our feet. There is no other alternative. Big brothers must think about the smaller ones and the smaller ones too must learn to collaborate and cast aside political differences and ideologies. Let’s learn to live together as one family under the same roof.

    Together we can.

  5. AMROU Abderrahmane

    Tällberg Fondation


    A Silver Lining to the Covid Disaster?

    Hello !

    First of all, I would like to greet very cordially the panel of the Tällberg Foundation, in particular its President Mr. Alan Stoga, as well as its notable guests in this case Mrs. Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and international lawyer; and Mr. Magnus Schöldtz, Senior Advisor at the Wallenberg Foundation AB and former Ambassador at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    As I do not have the ability to comprehensively understand the speech of the speakers, through the video, to be able to intervene in the course of the discussion, and this because of a fault in the listening; I would like to post this article, which I have already posted on the appropriate Rockefeller Foundation webinar forum, and add some opinions and comments that support the theme.

    I believe that the side effects (on the economic, social, health, cultural and educational levels) of this Covid-19 pandemic have been much more harmful than the disease inherent in it. Because the political & media manipulation of the Covid-19 by some governments and some media has caused great fear among populations in all countries of the world.

    If at the start of the pandemic the reasoning and civic behavior of citizens were sensible, appropriate and responsible; on the other hand, there was an abuse on the part of governments and institutions responsible for managing the pathological effects of this Covid-19 pandemic; and this, for various reasons which are not necessarily pragmatic and rational.

    This provoked doubts and questioning within all populations of the world; Especially since the political and media manipulation of health data concerning this Covid-19 virus has assumed an inordinate proportion. Since, after 1 month of confinement, things started to become unbearable on all levels.

    I fear that the excess of preventive measures could be much more negative and destructive, because preventing people from going to work, going out for leisure in the open air, playing sports and cultural & scientific activities, will cause other illnesses and other psychological problems, and also a lot of unemployment, poverty and misery. This has a negative impact on the health of citizens.

    It is obvious that digital technology can help a lot to cope with this Covid-19 pandemic on several levels; but this pandemic must remain in its pathological proportion and in its health framework.

    Also, and I believe that your notable guests are well placed to confirm it, the functioning and the political behavior of the institutions and the governments in Europe and in many countries of the world still obey this partisan, sectarian and clan ideology which remains dominated by lobbying by interest groups (visible and obscure) and evil secret societies…

    Therefore, the very negative handling of this pandemic by some governments is the result of the archaism and obsolescence of these governance systems that currently govern these governments.

    So, it should come as no surprise that countries in Europe are losing the essence of their democracy and the areas of their freedom in the near future; for widespread corruption, fear of privilege, fear of blackmail and quite simply fear have become a bargaining chip in the political activities of almost every government and international institution in the world.

    How to explain that a pandemic which weighs no more than 1 gram on a planetary scale can come to paralyze human activity and the economies of all countries of the world, including the great powers, and this in the modernity, science and technology era …?

    On the other hand, this pandemic has exposed the weakness of the human nation and its lack of solidarity and cohesion on an international scale. So much so that a simple cotton mask, almost useless and essential only in certain well-defined places, has become vital for the survival of all humanity, and the most absurd is that it has been established as an international fashion of the century;

    While the latter can be responsible for the retention of viruses & microbes and the pushing back of carbon dioxide which prevents citizens from breathing deeply the pure and clean air of nature. While in reality it is a great political manipulation for other purposes and in order to measure the degree of credulity and obedience of the populations.

    Also, this Covid-19 pandemic came as a major alert to warn Humanity about the vitality of human solidarity and the establishment of a world government or a world institution that can govern, guide and lead the whole of Humanity in the event of natural & human disasters of great international scope.

    “But has it been bad enough that even Europe’s current leaders realize they must do better?”

    “Might the failures of the last months result in a brighter future for Europe?”

    Of course, Europe will have a better future if it can change sectarian ideology and negative political behavior in its relationship with and between its own countries of the Union and in its relationship with third countries, especially Arab and Africans countries.

    It is obvious that political ideologies have shown their limits and that governments around the world have been able to understand the constraining political handicap that these impose on any Governance of any nature whatsoever and of whatever political persuasion.

    And so, the perverse and negative diktat of ideological & political lobbies, sectarian interest groups and dark clans has become counterproductive, crippling, cumbersome and unbearable. And this has been laid bare by this latest Covid-19 pandemic.

    To conclude, for the European Union to have a better future, it must stop favoring restricted economic interests to the detriment of fundamental and long-term strategies, democratic principles of the rule of law, human rights & human values, and stop stoking the fire of civil & military wars in certain countries.

    And, above all, that it stop this policy of appeasement, complicity and carelessness towards fanatic, extremist and terrorist groups of any kind and wherever they come from, because sooner or later all that will turn against these European countries

    Abderrahmane AMROU

    Link to my books in Amazon:



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