Friday, April 3, 2020

EU agrees on further action in corona crisis

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Um coping with the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis, the EU member states want to develop a new model for a common rescue package within two weeks. This is the result of an EU video summit with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the other heads of state and government on Thursday evening. The compromise had been hard fought because Italy vetoed a previously negotiated compromise formula and called for a stronger response from the European Union to the unprecedented crisis.

The joint summit declaration said at the end that the Eurogroup should come up with a new proposal for common fiscal measures within two weeks: “These proposals should take into account the unprecedented nature of the Covid 19 shock, which affects all our countries.” Further common steps the international community expressly reserves the right to do so.

The Eurogroup was originally supposed to be commissioned to develop details for aid from the ESM Eurorescue umbrella. There was talk of an instrument for “pandemic crisis support”. This meant precautionary credit lines from the ESM. The credit lines would be available to states that could face difficulties due to the enormous support packages for the domestic economy. The ESM has around 410 billion euros available for loans. This proposal was not enough for Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

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Together with Spain, Conte called for “innovative and appropriate financial instruments” at the video summit, according to Italian government circles. The five presidents of the EU institutions should make a proposal within ten days. This ultimately led to the compromise that the Eurogroup should make proposals within two weeks.

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