Criticising the failure of the Eurogroup to give its support to the EU’s €500bn package of economic aid to deal with the economic impact of corona virus, and continuing divisions over Eurobonds and ‘conditionalities’ for ESM funding, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“I strongly urge finance ministers to reach agreement. With more than 15 million workers who have already lost their jobs in Europe, working people cannot wait while the Eurogroup wrangles.
“The whole €500bn package is urgently needed to protect the jobs and livelihoods of working people, support companies and fund essential public services through this crisis. This is needed now for immediate use and without conditionalities which would bring us back to the blind austerity of the past.
“In addition, a recovery plan backed by common EU bonds will be needed within weeks not months for the end of the most drastic COVID-19 measures. I urge particularly the governments of the Netherlands, Germany and Austria to reconsider their opposition to Eurobonds and to wake up to the fact that conditionalities attached to financial support for member states in the current emergency will revive fears of austerity and make the ESM funding unworkable.
“If finance ministers cannot do what is needed then it will be up to heads of government and state to do so next week. Now is not the time for a failure of leadership and I call on finance ministers and all EU leaders to show the responsibility and solidarity that are needed in the current unprecedented circumstances.”