EU at risk of collapse Spain warns as poor countries’ coronavirus plight IGNORED

Pedro Sanchez urged the bloc’s leaders to respond with “unwavering solidarity” the death toll in his country continues to rise and its hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Madrid, alongside Rome, have called on European capitals to agree a joint debt scheme to help prop up the bloc’s worst-affected economies. But the desperate requests have fallen on deaf ears in Germany and the Netherlands, who have rejected the so-called “coronabonds” measure on numerous occasions.

Writing in several European newspapers, Mr Sanchez said: “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. We need unwavering solidarity.

“Solidarity between Europeans is a key principle of the EU treaties. And it is shown at times like this. Without solidarity there can be no cohesion, without cohesion there will be disaffection and the credibility of the European project will be severely damaged.”

While welcoming the European Commission’s unemployment scheme and the European Central Bank’s emergency package, the Spanish prime minister demanded the creation of a “wartime economy” to “promote resistance, reconstruction and recovery”.

“It must start doing so as soon as possible with measures to support the public debt that many states, including Spain, are taking on,” he added.

“And it must continue to do so when this health emergency is over, to rebuild the continent’s economies by mobilising significant resources through a plan we are calling the new Marshall plan and which will require the backing of all of the EU’s common institutions.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has voiced support for a new “Marshall Plan”, the post-war US initiative to aid Europe’s recovery, to be developed in light of the coronavirus crisis.

The German has called for huge investments in the EU budget to mitigate the impacts of the global pandemic.

She has urged European capitals to invest billions extra in hope that turning on the spending taps will help avert an economic disaster.

“We need a Marshall Plan for europe,” she wrote in German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag.

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“The many billions that have to be invested today to avert a greater catastrophe will bind the generations together.”

The EU debate over financing the bloc’s coronavirus recovery has been marred with controversial clashes between member states.

Eurozone finance ministers are due to hold talks on Tuesday to discuss new plans.

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They were ordered by leaders to work on “coronabond” alternatives after a recent European Council summit ended in acrimony.

Eurogroup president Mario Ceneno has warned ministers not to let their differences jeopardise the chances of a rescue package being developed.

“We certainly need fresh money after this period to leverage a recovery plan,” he said.

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