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Germany should not fear joint European response to Covid-19 crisis - Conte

31 marzo 2020 | 23.38
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented challenge that requires a joint European response - one that Germans should not fear, premier Giuseppe Conte told German broadcaster ARD in an interview on Tuesday.

"(German Chancellor Angela) Merkel and I expressed different views during our discussion with other European leaders on the Covid19 emergency," Conte said.

"I take this opportunity and say it to all German citizens - we are not writing an economics manual. We are writing a page in a history book," Conte added.

Conte and Merkel last week took part in a video conference of European leaders that papered over deep divisions over how to pull their economies through the coronavirus crisis, calling on European Union finance ministers to present proposals within two weeks.

Italy has accused other EU countries of a timid response to a global economic shock caused by Covid-19.

"Italy is still in the acute phase of the emergency, the other day we past the ten thousand victim mark. It is a great wound that is widening. But surely we will manage to get out of this tunnel, we will win the economic and health challenge," said Conte.

The issuance of joint eurozone debt, or eurobonds, would not make Germans liable for Italian debts, Conte underlined in the ARD interview.

Creating eurobonds "does not mean [...] that German citizens would pay a single euro of Italian debts," Conte said.

"It just means forming a common response and creating more favourable market conditions to raise cash for post-coronavirus reconstruction efforts."

Italy does want to use the eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism and "has always paid its debts and will continue to pay its debts," Conte added.

Italy has called for special 'coronavirus bonds' to help EU states fund health spending and economic rescue programmes. But Germany and other northern European countries like the Netherlands have rebuffed the idea as premature and argue the ESM is the right instrument to share the economic burden of the Covid-19 crisis.

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