Minister lauds PM's call for new eurozone tools to fight Covid-19

Minister lauds PM's call for new eurozone tools to fight Covid-19

Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio on Thursday praised premier Giuseppe Conte for demanding that European leaders adopt new financial tools to mitigate the economic destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We can't tackle such a difficult time with old instruments that didn't work in the past," Di Maio told public broadcaster Rai's TG1 news bulletin.

"Prime Minister Conte was right to say that if they (European leaders) want to propose old tools then we will go our own way to ensure the wellbeing and future of Italians," Di Maio said.

In a videoconference with EU leaders on Thursday, Conte told them "innovative financial instruments" are needed "in a war that we must all fight together to win as rapidly as possible," according to sources.

"What will we say to our citizens if Europe does not show itself capable of a strong and united response to such a symmetric, unpredictable and epoch-making shock," Conte allegedly went on.

Conte asked how some EU leaders could think that "tools developed in the past to deal with asymmetric shocks from single countries' financial problems can handle this symmetric and devastating shock," the sources said.

Italy, France, Spain and six other countries this week wrote to European Council president Charles Michel urging the eurozone to issue joint European debt ('coronabonds') to finance the fight against Covid-19, a move that capitals including Berlin believe is premature.