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“The circumstances are exceptional and call for unwavering positions: either we rise to this challenge or we will fail as a union. We have reached a critical juncture at which even the most fervently pro-European countries and governments, as is Spain’s case, need real proof of commitment,” he argued, calling coronavirus «Europe’s worst public health crisis since 1918».
The article was published by leading newspapers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands.
Sanchez said he welcomes measures that have been taken at a European-level in recent weeks but argued that they fall far short of what is needed.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is unveiling on Wednesday her road map for lifting coronavirus restrictions across the bloc. In a 14-page document laying out her ideas, von der Leyen says that «although it is clear that the path back to normalcy will take a long time, it is also obvious that we cannot maintain these extraordinary restrictions indefinitely.»
She says lockdowns across the continent had proven effective, yet also precipitated a tremendous economic shock and placed a heavy burden on public life. EU officials estimate that the eurozone economy could shrink by 10 percent this year — a drop in economic productivity not seen since the global economic crisis of the 1920s.
At the end of the document, Ursula von der Leyen pledges to draw up a plan to kick start the bloc’s economy, which was been hit hard by the coronavirus. She says demand and production must be stimulated, and taxes possibly lowered. The paper states that «the Commission will develop a recovery strategy that builds on a new medium-term budget plan, and a reworked 2020 action plan.»
European Union finance minters have settled on a coronavirus financial support package worth half-a-trillion euros.
It includes €200 billion, which The European Investment Bank will lend to companies, and €240 billion in cheap credit, which The European Stability Mechanism bailout fund will make available to governments.
The package will bring the EU’s total fiscal response to the epidemic to €3.2 trillion ($3.5 trillion), the biggest in the world.
The package has yet to be approved by the EU’s 27 national leaders.
European Union finance ministers agreed on 9th April on half-a-trillion euros worth of support for their coronavirus-battered economies but left open the question of how to finance recovery in the bloc headed for a steep recession.
he agreement was reached after EU powerhouse Germany, as well as France, put their feet down to end opposition from the Netherlands over attaching economic conditions to emergency credit for governments weathering the impacts of the pandemic, and offered Italy assurances that the bloc would show solidarity.
But the deal does not mention using joint debt to finance recovery – something Italy, France and Spain pushed strongly for but which is a red line for Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Austria.
It only defers to the bloc’s 27 national leaders whether “innovative financial instruments” should be applied, meaning many more fraught discussions on the matter were still ahead.
For weeks, EU member states have struggled to present a united front in the face of the pandemic, squabbling over money, medical equipment and drugs, border restrictions and trade curbs, amid fraught talks laying bare their bitter divisions.