Eurogroup chairman Mário Centeno announced the package after long discussions. Photo: EPA
European Union finance ministers have agreed to a €500 billion rescue package for European countries badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chairman of the Eurogroup, Mário Centeno, said the EU has answered the call from its citizens for a Europe that protects.
“We agreed to three safety nets, for workers, businesses and public finances, adding up to half trillion euro, and a plan for the recovery to ensure we grow together & not apart once the virus is behind us,” he said.
The #Eurogroup answered the call from our citizens for a Europe that protects.
We agreed to 3 safety nets (for workers, businesses &public finances) adding up to half trillion €, and a plan for the recovery to ensure we grow together & not apart once the virus is behind us pic.twitter.com/P4JrUUIyjK
— Mário Centeno (@mariofcenteno) April 10, 2020
The programmes the ministers agreed to recommend to their governments for final approval include a €100 billion loan plan for unemployment benefits, €200 billion in loans for smaller business and access to €240 billion in loans for Eurozone countries to access.
The final package is smaller than the €1.5 trillion proposed by the European Central Bank to tackle the crisis, but was nevertheless hailed by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire as the the most important economic plan in EU history.
“Europe has decided and is ready to meet the gravity of the crisis,” he said
Despite calls from Italy, France and Spain, who have been badly hit by the crisis, EU ministers were unable to reach an agreement on issuing joint debt through so-called ‘corona-bonds’, after resistance from Germany and the Netherlands.