After being criticised by Spain and Italy for its lack of compassion, the Netherlands is now beginning to change its stance on a coronavirus emergency fund for countries particularly hard hit by the virus.
Hoekstra, the Minister for Finance, wants the Netherlands to put about one billion euros into a European emergency fund for countries struggling with coronavirus.
Fund should total between 10 and 20 billion euros
This fund is hoped to total between 10 and 20 billion euros, according to Prime Minister Rutte. He did not want to be more specific about exactly what the Netherlands would put into the fund until it was all established. “I am not going to speculate. We must first see whether that fund will be created.” The amounts countries are expected to donate should be proportional, according to the Prime Minister.
The Netherlands changes its stance
This is a back-track from the Netherlands’ original, fairly harsh position, which was criticised by Spain and Italy. The original plan was to use money from the European Stabilisation Mechanism to help out affected countries, but that would have imposed very strict conditions on those countries (which no one needs right now). Yesterday, Hoekstra admitted that he had not shown enough empathy towards affected countries, and noted that it was in the Netherlands’ interest to have a strong European Union.
Now, the fund will be an emergency fund, which countries will not have to repay.
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Feature Image: Still of NOS press conference, by DutchReview.