EU ministers to discuss response to economic crisis caused by virus

The EU’s economy and finance ministers plan to discuss in further detail measures to combat the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday afternoon.

The European Commission wants to give the ministers an assessment of how badly the pandemic has hit the European economy.

In addition the finance ministers want to push ahead with legislation on countermeasures, including the planned temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks.

EU banking rules should be relaxed so that citizens and companies have further access to credit.

The finance ministers had put together a coronavirus bailout package of up to 540 billion euros (590 billion dollars) last week at a meeting of the Eurogroup.

In addition to the unemployment measures, this also includes a programme from the European Investment Bank for corporate loans and precautionary credit lines from the euro bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, for health expenditure.

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The establishment of a reconstruction fund was also agreed, but so far without details.

The EU countries are divided on whether so-called coronabonds, or common bonds, should be used for financing.

The International Monetary Fund predicted this week that the eurozone’s GDP will see a drop of 7.5 per cent this year due to the coronavirus. (dpa)

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