Yes to billions in aid, no to coronabonds

In their video conference on Thursday the EU leaders approved a coronavirus aid package of up to 540 billion euros in loans. Starting in June, the loans will be made available to companies, indebted states and short-time work schemes. Joint coronabonds, however, were rejected. Is this result a sign of cohesion or does it cement the rifts within Europe?

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

A risky path forward

This decision does not solve anything, says Frankfurter Rundschau:

“A certain amount of financial acrobatics is required to mobilise many billions of euros without putting too much money on the table all at once. And ultimately this must be reconciled with the EU's long-term budget and the 'Green Deal' climate protection project. And if it becomes clear how much all this costs, then distribution battles must be avoided. If the EU leaders are too hesitant and stingy, sloppy and unwilling to show enough solidarity in all this, the wrong political forces could end up benefiting. The economic crisis at the end of the 2000s gave a boost to right-wing populists. The stakes are high.”

La Stampa (IT) /

A decision that will strengthen Europe

The countries of southern Europe have scored a victory, political scientist Alberto Mingardi writes in La Stampa:

“Under the direction of Angela Merkel, the European Union has stripped the sovereignists of their alibi. With the new 2021-2027 budget the Commission gives itself unprecedented powers to transfer money. Half of the recovery fund will manage structural resources similar to those in the Juncker Plan and half will be passed on to countries in difficulties. Ironically, the attacks on the European stepmother will ultimately strengthen Brussels. France, Italy and Spain seem to be emerging as winners from this game. But we shouldn't count our chickens before they hatch. Getting this fund up and running will take time.”

Delo (SI) /

EU nothing but an empty husk

The member states can't expect much help from this Community, Delo criticises:

“The states must cope on their own in the battle against Covid-19. The EU has proved itself to be nothing but an empty husk. That will have to change or else the Union - at least as we now know it - will cease to exist. Due to the dangers posed by the virus the individual countries have turned inwards. The wealthier ones have been able to give their citizens a little more freedom during these times, while the poorer ones have introduced stricter isolation measures in lieu of treatment. ... There's a lot of talk in the EU right now about spending more joint funds on healthcare. But it's probably better if everyone relies on themselves.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Widening gap could destroy the EU

The risk premium on Spanish government bonds has risen significantly again in recent weeks. The EU needs to take bolder decisions to stop this dangerous trend, La Vanguardia believes:

“If the trend of rising costs for selling government bonds continues, the differences between the countries of southern Europe and the countries of northern Europe will widen and the EU will remain divided into rich and poor states as economic convergence falters. From there it will only be a small step to a new crisis of the euro and the common project. ... If the reconstruction plan is to be stretched over the next seven years and on top of that has to first be approved by the national parliaments, there will be delays, its impact will be reduced and it won't serve to provide the rapid economic stimulus that is now needed. This means that the future of the EU and of all its member states is at stake.”

De Tijd (BE) /

Merkel showing a sense of responsibility

De Tijd praises the German chancellor's leadership:

“The ice has become thin in Europe. It's hard to come up with a joint answer to the corona crisis, and the European summit on the measures to be adopted only arrived at a result with difficulty. ... In the Bundestag, Merkel said that Germany will 'of course' contribute more to the EU budget. European solidarity is important to Merkel because she knows that a fragile Union could lead to another crisis. If not all member states overcome the corona crisis, the consequences will be felt throughout the Union.”