Fourth EU coronavirus summit: signs of a deal?
Another summit of EU leaders aimed at tackling the coronavirus crisis is slated for Thursday. The main topic of discussion will be a common strategy for lifting the pandemic measures and further cushioning the economic impact. But the lack of consensus of recent weeks has not diminished. Commentators call for swift and far-sighted action.
No more delays!
The EU must now pick up its pace, Ta Nea stresses:
“Time is of the essence. Countries which reacted in a timely manner, including Greece and Germany, managed to contain the spread of the virus. Countries which delayed - such as France, Italy, and Spain - paid dearly for it. The same principle applies to the economy. Time counts. If European leaders act in a timely fashion the damage to the European economy will be limited. If the reaction is delayed the cost will be huge. One must not forget that in the management of the economic crisis of the previous decade much time was lost before ECB chief Mario Draghi's decision to guarantee the viability of the common currency and to take measures to bolster it.”
Please don't do a Merkel
How quickly a decision is made now depends largely on the German chancellor, La Repubblica's Berlin correspondent Tonia Mastrobuoni explains:
“The greatest risk, especially for Italy, is that Angela Merkel will practice an art in which she is unbeatable tomorrow: the art of stalling. That she will succeed in getting the EU summit to postpone the decision on coronabonds yet again. And that in the weeks that pass before the next summit, the pandemic will subside, reducing the pressure to resort to extraordinary means to deal with the crisis. Perhaps even to the point of breaking up the front of those countries which, alongside Italy, are insisting on the need for common bonds which do not increase the debts of individual states.”
EU could collapse in the long term
Leaving the southern European states to deal with their economic problems on their own would be very dangerous for the EU, Kaleva warns:
“It's easy to insist that countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal take responsibility for getting their economies in order. ... But the other side of the coin is the prospect of what could happen if Italy is allowed to slide into a years-long recession. The country is the second-largest manufacturer in Europe, and a downturn in its economy would have an entirely different impact on the whole of Europe than the situation of former problem child Greece. ... Should Italy's economy collapse, it could bring to power populists who are pushing for EU withdrawal. And that could cause both the Eurozone and the entire EU to fall apart.”