Leader of the EU27 has clashed on a number of issues at hand since the COVID-19 outbreak began, not least the way in which the looming financial crisis should be addressed. French President Emmanuel Macron warned the EU is facing its “moment of truth”. He said the bloc was left with “no choice” but to establish a fund that “could issue common debt with a common guarantee” to provide financial aid to countries according to their needs as opposed to the size of their economies.
But fellow European leaders are strongly opposed to his plan of action.
The French are calling for about €400 billion to be set aside for the response fund which would compliment the help already offered by the European Central Bank (ECB).
The aim is to soften the blow of the virus outbreak and lockdowns on economies.
But the Germans and the Dutch are showing no signs of budging from their strong opposition to such a plan.
Last week EU finance ministers struck an agreement on a €500 billion stimulus package for member states badly hit by the virus.
But Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned he would not back the package unless it includes a way for countries to shared debt.
The Netherlands and Germany are staunchly opposed to mutualising debt.
When asked if failing to reach an agreement on a fund could put the future of the eurozone at risk, Mr Macron said it would.
He said: “Yes, we must be clear — and also of the European idea.
“You cannot have a single market where some are sacrificed.
“It is no longer possible . . . to have financing that is not mutualised for the spending we are undertaking in the battle against Covid-19 and that we will have for the economic recovery.”
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President Macron’s warning comes ahead of a meeting of EU leaders next Thursday.
Leaders will discuss the proposed plan for a fund over video conference in the hope of finalising a deal.
Italy remains the hardest hit country in Europe by the coronavirus crisis.
On Thursday EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen issued a “heartfelt apology” to Italians for the bloc’s lack of help at the beginning of
Her apology comes as Italy is seeing a rise in anti-EU sentiment.
A survey conducted by Tecne in March showed that as Italy was in the throes of the crisis support for membership of the EU was falling.
Nearly seven in 10 Italians (67 percent) said being a part of the bloc was a disadvantage.
This number was up from 47 percent in a similar ballot in November 2018.
And Spain has warned the EU risks collapsing if it fails to listen to and address the needs of poor countries.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said his country needs to see “unwavering solidarity” among EU nations as anger among Spaniards grows over the bloc’s approach to the crisis.
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