Eurozone finance ministers will convene over video conference today to discuss an economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Today’s virtual meeting follows a March 26 gathering of the European Council, where EU leaders called on the Eurogroup to forge a joint response to combat the pandemic. The conclusion of the March call was by no means unanimous; Europe’s economically disparate northern and southern representatives were deeply divided over which course of action to take.
Italy, Spain, France and six other Euro-bound countries have called for the adoption of “coronabonds“, a financial instrument that would allow for increased spending on healthcare and raise funds through a shared issuance of debt throughout Europe.
However, the fiscally conservative northern states of the bloc, like Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, have proven hesitant to adopt such changes and take on an additional burden of debt, to allow for Mediterranean members to have cheaper access to recovery money post-pandemic. Given these attitudes, northern countries oppose debt-sharing across Europe and the heightened interest rates that would likely follow, while southern members are more eager to see simplified access to cash and an easier repayment process.
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