EU plans to agree coordinated economic coronavirus response on Monday

Estonian police officer and border guard check cars and trucks on Latvia's and Estonia's border check point in Ikla, Estonia, 15 March 2020. Starting from 17 March 2020, Estonia has decided to close its borders, disallowing foreign travelers from entering, only Estonian citizens have the entry rights, while anyone entering the country will spend two weeks in quarantine. EPA-EFE/TOMS KALNINS

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European Union finance ministers plan to agree on Monday on a coordinated economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the European Commission forecasting the effects of the virus could push the EU into a recession.

The action would be a coordinated stepping up of the EU’s response — so far composed of a variety of national measures by its 27 member governments and a suspension of any EU limits on national government spending, if related to the epidemic.

The so-called Eurogroup of ministers will discuss by video conference how to limit the effects of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has already caused lockdowns in Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland and caused curbs on businesses and the movement of people in many countries.

With the coronavirus now putting whole sectors of the economy out of action, the European Commission said on Friday that the EU and the euro zone would very likely go into recession this year, even though it forecast only a month earlier euro zone growth at 1.2% in 2020 and 2021.

The European Central Bank, which took its own steps last week, has called on euro zone governments to mount an ambitious and coordinated fiscal response — so far lacking.

Individually, Germany has announced the most ambitious steps so far, promising on Friday half a trillion euros in guarantees for business – and more if needed – in a four-point plan that won praise from economists.

Read more via Reuters

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