COVID-19: A European response to tackle the Economic Impacts with the Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni

“We are aware that what was the use of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to rescue single countries in the last 10 years is not what we need now. What we need now is to have a common tool for a crisis affecting all EU countries. The whole mechanism of conditionalities should be changed” – stated Paolo Gentiloni, EU Commissioner responsible for the European economy, in an online discussion hosted by Bruegel and the Financial Times.

“A European response to the coronavirus crisis with Paolo Gentiloni” an online event was held on 6 April 2020 to discuss the EU contribution to the Eurogroup and the strategies to tackle the unprecedented economic crisis caused by the new coronavirus.

COVID-19 pandemic is affecting hundreds of thousands of people and has resulted, all over the world, in strict health and safety measures. Such measures have led the majority of companies to significantly limit their activities, with a strong economic impact on both businesses and workers.

Apart from many strategies that have been discussed at the EU level, the Commission has enabled the member states to adopt social and fiscal measures to limit economic damage as much as possible, and accordingly, a set of measures have been put in place so far to address the economic crisis caused by corona such as:

– Liquidity national measures (tax delays, public guarantees, others)
National expenditure and fiscal measures (healthcare, tax relief, others)
– Total EU support (EU budget and liquidity)

As the EU leaders disagreed over the economic response to the coronavirus with Northern countries rejecting the idea of coronabonds, proposed by nine member states to finance the recovery, European Council came with the decision that the finance ministers of Eurogroup will once again try to propose solutions to the economic fallout from the coronavirus within the next two weeks.

“What I would expect firstly from the Eurogroup, and I’m rather confident they will get there, is a message of shared unity because I think it is not the moment for divisions” – further added Paolo Gentiloni during the discussion.

Additionally, the European Commission is coordinating a common European response to the Coronavirus outbreak. President von der Leyen has set up a Coronavirus response team at the political level to coordinate their response to the pandemic. More can be found here.

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