Leaders of EU institutions eye how to jump-start economy

Charles Michel: The EU budget will have to be adapted to this crisis

Photo: EU Charles Michel.

In searching coordinated solutions for reducing the magnitude of the shocks that threaten European economy, European Council President Charles Michel convened on Tuesday evening a videoconference with the presidents of the Commission, the ECB and the Eurogroup, as a first follow up to the summit of 26 March.

Six days ago the presidents and premiers of EU27 said in a joint statement that the urgency is presently on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and its immediate consequences, but the EU should start to prepare the measures necessary to get back to a normal functioning of the societies and economies and to sustainable growth.

In the same statement, they invite the presidents of the Commission and the European Council, to start work on a roadmap accompanied by an action plan accordingly.

During the discussion, Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, Christine Lagarde and Mario Centeno took stock of the socio-economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis and discussed the next steps.

"We are exploring different paths to respond to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. The only way forward is a common strategy in a spirit of solidarity," said Charles Michel. 

He also underlined that a coordinated exit strategy, a comprehensive recovery plan and unprecedented investment are required.  "To jump-start the European economy, we will have to use all levers available, at national and European level. The EU budget will have to be adapted to this crisis and it is time to think outside of the box. Any option compatible with the EU Treaty should be considered," President Michel asserted.

The presidents will continue working together on the Recovery plan, in consultation with the other institutions, notably the ECB.

The Eurogroup has been tasked by the European Council to present proposals within two weeks. It is not clear whether the leaders discussed the topic that became a ‘hot potato’ during the videoconference summit, namely the “corona bonds” and what will be the role of the European Stability Mechanism, so called EU bailout fund. 

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