Eurogroup already has agreement for economic response to the coronavirus outbreak

The conditionalities of the financing line through the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) were the main reason for disagreement that especially opposed the Netherlands and Italy and on which there was a need to move forward in the negotiations.

Cristina Bernardo

The Eurogroup has already reached an agreement to provide an economic response to the coronavirus outbreak, in a support package that reaches 500 billion euros. The information was advanced by several participants at the meeting that started at 20:30, after an afternoon of intense bilateral contacts.

“The Eurogroup reached the agreement. A package of unprecedented dimensions to support the health system, unemployment benefits, corporate liquidity and the fund for a recovery plan. Europe is solidarity ”, wrote the European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, representative in the Eurogroup, in the account of the social network Twitter.

The Dutch Finance Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, detailed that the finance ministers reached agreement on the various items on the agenda, namely the one that opposed Holland and Italy: the conditions of access to the credit line through the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) ).

“The MEE can provide financial aid to countries without conditions for average expenses. It will also be available for economic support, but with conditions. It is fair and reasonable, ”he said via Twitter, stating that the Netherlands remains against the issuance of eurobonds. "We think that this concept will not help Europe and the Netherlands in the long run."

 

French Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire also used Twitter to praise the agreement reached, which he classified as “excellent”, noting that the financial package reaches 500 billion euros “available immediately”, announcing “a relaunch fund” in the future.

"Europe decides and shows itself up to the seriousness of the crisis," he added.

The package also includes the European Investment Bank's € 200 billion agreement to support small and medium-sized enterprises and the European Commission's SURE program, which provides for € 100 billion for wage and employment protection.

After a 16-hour business marathon that lasted until Wednesday morning, the European finance ministers, coordinated by the Portuguese Mário Centeno, tried again this Thursday to reach a political agreement on the financing conditions for the Member States to face the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conditionalities of the financing line through the ESM were the main reason for disagreement that especially opposed the Netherlands and Italy and on which there was a need to move forward in the negotiations.

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra understood that the MEE should "be used unconditionally to cover medical costs" in a Twitter post after Tuesday's meeting. However, for long-term economic support, he considers "that it would be wise to agree to the use of the European Stability Mechanism under certain economic conditions".

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