Coronavirus POLL: Could pandemic spell the end for the EU? VOTE HERE
EU finance ministers are meeting this week to try and create a new financial package to aid countries across the continent. Italy has called for measures to increase the bloc’s debt to help cope with the fiscal damage from COVID-19. With that in mind, Express.co.uk is asking, ‘Could pandemic spell the end for the EU?’
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez has warned the EU must come up with an ambitious plan to help member states as they battle COVID-19.
The Presidents of the European Council and Commission, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen release a statement insisting a bold financial package would soon be created.
A statement said: “There is a lot of room for solidarity within the existing instruments and institutions.
“We have to exploit these tools fully and remain open to doing more. A strong package is in the making.
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“Our goal is clear: we will protect European citizens and businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic.”
France has joined Italy and Spain in wanting to share out the debt incurred by the coronavirus.
However, Germany, Austria and Holland have so far refused to increase the debt of the trade bloc.
Last month, Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte told the Financial Times, the EU will soon fade away if it does not support member states.
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He said: “Europe must show unity and solidarity, there is no alternative to this.
“If Europe fails, I fear it will fade away in the conscious of our fellow citizens, giving space to the worst nationalistic instincts.
“This is a different virus that we need to defeat now.”
A decision on the potential package is expected to be announced on Wednesday.
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There are three strands which are likely to be created in order to prop up the economy.
A £360billion European Stability Mechanism, the European Investment Fund and a European Commission scheme which amount to £88billion.
Despite the potential of a new fiscal package, the President of the EU’s top science funding agency, the European Research Council (ERC) resigned this week.
Mauro Ferrari resigned after claiming he had lost faith in the system and was disappointed by the bloc’s response to the pandemic.
He told the Financial Times: “I have been extremely disappointed by the European response to COVID-19.
“I arrived at the ERC a fervent supporter of the EU but the COVID-19 crisis completely changed my views, though the ideals of international collaboration I continue to support with enthusiasm.”
The former ERC chief admitted the problem arose when the ERC Scientific Council rejected a proposal to create a new programme to deal with COVID-19.
The EU’s crisis management commissioner, Janez Lenarcic also stated member states had not been quick enough to support Italy or Spain.
He added: “There was an inadequate response to the Italian request for assistance from other EU member states.”
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