The European Parliament has approved measures proposed by the European Commission to combat the new coronavirus epidemic, Politico reports.
In particular, they provide for the allocation of € 37 billion to protect the European economy from the consequences of the spread of the disease.
The overwhelming majority of deputies voted for the adoption of the proposed measures — 683, 1 opposed it, and 4 more abstained.
Earlier, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the launch of a record-breaking bond-buying program worth € 750 billion. Under the program, both state and corporate securities will be purchased. The purpose of the ECB intervention is to support the financial sector and stabilize the public debt market of southern European countries, which may face higher bond payments due to investor concerns about the ability of the authorities to pay their bills.
In parallel, the German government announced that it would provide € 750 billion to support the economy during the crisis. German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier called this the first step in dealing with the economic consequences of the new coronavirus epidemic. At the same time, Italy was able to allocate less than € 30 billion to help its economy.
The European Union should release large-scale funds to help the economies affected by COVID-19, in particular, Italy and other countries that are experiencing financial difficulties, former ECB head Mario Draghi wrote in an article for The Guardian newspaper. According to him, funds for such assistance should be provided by the ECB in the form of its purchase of public debt bonds either of countries or from the anti-crisis Fund of the Eurozone (European Stability Mechanism) for more than € 400 billion.
The slowdown in EU growth caused by COVID-19 presents huge difficulties for the Eurozone as a whole and its weak economies in the South of Europe in particular, said Adrian Schout, a senior researcher at the Clingendael Institute of international relations in the Netherlands. “The ECB has already taken measures that might have seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago. The countries of the Eurozone must decide how to help each other and ensure the stability of the economies and public debt in the countries of southern Europe,” he said.