Netherlands hesitant towards EU’s multi-billion euro fund for coronavirus crisis

European leaders have been meeting virtually to discuss how they plan to finance the coronavirus pandemic that has taken Europe (and other parts of the world) by storm.

On Thursday, leaders of EU member states convened to discuss COVID-19 and the measures that need to be taken. The EU Council also released a statement on EU actions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Of their list of topics discussed during the conference was the European Stability Mechanism (EMS), an emergency fund comprising of over €400 billion in a conference call. The fund was originally set up to bail countries out of the debt crisis.

Countries such as Italy and Spain, which have been severely affected by the virus, wanted to use the money to prevent financial shocks from occurring. However, the Netherlands and Germany want to take a more cautious approach and explore other alternatives, according to NOS.

Rutte: We should explore other options first

“We shouldn’t just shoot all the powder now, but work step by step,” said Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte (and yes, that’s a lovely translation of the Dutch expression, ons kruid verschieten). “Of course there are European instruments to help, but we have to look carefully at the timing and conditions.”

Southern Member states have expressed their discontent with the Dutch position, believing that it is too strict in blocking emergency financial measures, NOS reports.

These countries criticise the Netherlands for being enthusiastic about compensation measures for fishermen and flower growers, which representatives from Member States call “incomprehensible.”

Discussions to continue

In any case, the EU leaders are determining how much extra money is needed, and which countries require additional resources.  They are also considering “corona bonds” — whether the European governments should issue bonds to help fund the crisis. The Netherlands is hesitant about this idea as well, NOS reports.

As of now, discussions are still ongoing for the next few weeks and only time will tell which direction the EU chooses to follow.

Do you think the EU should use its EMS fund to absorb shocks that the coronavirus crisis causes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Feature Image: Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr

Vedika Luthra
Vedika Luthrahttp://hotchocolatehits.com
Vedika was born in India, raised in Poland and moved to the Netherlands to study. Like her nationality, she’s confused about what she likes most, which is why her bachelor’s degree was in liberal arts and sciences. She enjoys writing about all things food-related but likes to mix it up every now and then.

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