İrem GÖL -TDO- Talks on a coronavirus economic rescue plan for the Eurozone worth up to 540 billion euros have broken up without a deal amid north-south divisions over strings to attach to financial aid for the most stricken countries. Negotiations were suspended after a marathon all-night video conference call between the 19 finance ministers of the Eurozone ended early on Wednesday morning.
The coronavirus pandemic is testing EU unity, especially the inner circle of 19 countries that use the single currency, where there are stark differences over the question of shared debt. A dispute between the Netherlands and Italy, the two countries at opposite poles of the EU’s debt divided, thwarted an agreement on a package of loans.
During the all-night talks, ministers largely sidestepped the divisive question of mutualised debt, so-called “corona bonds”. They are expected to call on EU leaders to discuss how to finance an EU recovery fund. While there is agreement not to send in EU inspectors to monitor loans, southern European countries, such as Italy and Spain, have complained of being stigmatised for a crisis not of their making.
Ministers came to an agreement on the general idea; however, they sidestepped the difficult question of how to finance the bonds. Ministers will attempt to agree on Thursday but some diplomats remain sceptical an agreement is possible.