- “The pandemic shows us how vulnerable Europe is,” Merkel told the European Union on Thursday.
- European Council President Charles Michel wants EU leaders to meet, in person, in Brussels in July.
- The plan foresees the Commission’s going to the markets to finance a €750 billion aid package.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned at the end of a video-conference between the leaders of the European Union, of the need for a quick agreement on a plan to face the economic repercussions of the coronavirus, due to the scale of the crisis. She called the coronavirus the biggest challenge to face the EU in its history.
“The pandemic shows us how vulnerable Europe is,” Merkel told the European Union on Thursday, as reported by the Financial Times. “Therefore I want to stress to you that cohesion and solidarity in Europe were never as important as they are today,” she added.
The heads of state and government of the European Union met yesterday via video conference, to discuss “the proposals for the Multi annual Financial Framework and the Recovery Fund tabled by the Commission,” having decided to return to debate the topic. According to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the response to the COVID-19 crisis should be discussed again at a summit that brings together European leaders in person in Brussels, in mid- July.
In the statements made by Merkel, the Chancellor assured that there are no differences regarding the legal construction of the plan, which foresees the Commission’s going to the markets to finance a €750 billion aid package. However, she admitted that there is no consensus on the necessary amount and support structure.
Michel welcomed the sense of urgency assumed by all, arguing that, after three weeks of bilateral consultations with the 27 member states on the presentation of the proposals of the community executive, “a new phase, that of negotiation, has entered.”
He told a news conference, “I’m totally committed to start immediately real negotiations with the member states and we intend to have a physical summit in around the middle of July in Brussels in mid- July.”
Michel said that, before that summit, he would elaborate and put on the table some concrete proposals, with a view to bringing together positions, with a view to an agreement on the plan for the recovery of the European economy before the summer holidays. “It is essential to make a decision as early as possible,” he said.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has caused more than 450,000 deaths and infected more than 8.4 million people in 196 countries and territories worldwide. The tally is courtesy of a report prepared by the French news agency, AFP. The pandemic first broke out in China, but in February, Europe became its epicenter. By now, the American continent has since overtaken it, and it currently has got the most confirmed cases and the most deaths.
Measures to combat the pandemic have paralyzed entire sectors of the world economy and have led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make unprecedented predictions in its almost 75 years. The world economy may fall 3% in 2020, dragged by a contraction of 5.9 % in the United States, 7.5% in the eurozone and 5.2% in Japan.