It has been one year since the virus SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) began to spread from Wuhan, China to almost every country around the globe. Around this sad anniversary, many European countries are looking back at the moments that defined 2020. The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic swept the continent during the first half of the year, and, at the moment of writing, the second (or third) wave is still in full force. At this point in time, we look back and try to understand the decisions that were made during the first wave. Since the start of the pandemic, the EU has stressed the importance of a coordinated response, but the member states’ approaches differed greatly. While some countries went into strict and long lockdowns, others chose not to restrict people’s movement at all in an effort to protect the economy. This article will explore why their approaches differed so greatly and provide some tentative explanatory factors.