EU plans 25 billion euro fund to fight new coronavirus

The European Union will set up an investment fund to respond to the coronavirus, expecting the fund to raise 25 billion euro, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after a video conference with EU leaders, Bulgarian National Radio reported on March 10.

The fund will target health systems, small and medium-sized enterprises, the labour market and other vulnerable segments of the EU economy. It is expected that the 25 billion euro will be raised quickly, to be directed to EU countries.

“In order to implement the idea, I will propose to the Council and Parliament this week to release 7.5 billion euro in targeted funding. I will create a working group that will be in contact with member states to ensure that money starts moving in the coming weeks,” Von der Leyen said.

A statement by the European Council said that council president Charles Michel said that the meeting of the European Council scheduled for March 26 and 27 would go ahead and would not be postponed because of the coronavirus.

Member states expressed sympathy with Italy and other member states that are severely hit. They emphasised the need for a joint European approach and close co-ordination with the European Commission. They agreed that health ministers and interior ministers should consult daily to ensure proper co-ordination and aim for common European guidance, a statement said.

Leaders agreed to task the Commission with analysing the needs and to come up with initiatives to prevent shortages of medical equipment, in particular masks and respirators. Moreover, the Commission intends to purchase personal protective equipment through the Civil Protection Framework – RescEU.

EU leaders emphasised the importance of reinforcing efforts on research. The Commission has already mobilised 140 million euro of funds and selected 17 projects to do this.

The EU and its member states will make use of all necessary instruments to address the impact of the outbreak on liquidity, on support for SME’s and specific affected sectors, and their employees.

Flexible application of EU rules, in particular as regards state aid and the Stability and Growth Pact will be needed, the statement said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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