The whole European Union must join forces to help Italy counter its dramatic coronavirus outbreak and to drive the international quest for a vaccine against Covid-19, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio stated Friday.
"We need an effort by the whole of the EU - clear support for Italy and to re-launch the International Alliance for a (Covid-19) vacine," Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
Di Maio's post also reiterated Italy's call for a bolder European response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic shock caused by the crisis.
"We need a rapid economic response. We have to support families, workers and companies and kick-start our national economy...we expect maximum support from Europe," Di Maio stated.
Earlier, Di Maio took part in an informal EU foreign ministers' videoconference, said the post.
"I stated clearly that we must coordinate all activities at European level to tackle the coronavirus...we can only win this battle together," Di Maio wrote.
In a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen published in Italian daily La Repubblica on Friday, premier Giuseppe Conte urged stronger action by eurozone countries, repeating his call for the issue of 'European recovery bonds'.
"It is time to show more ambition, more unity and more courage," stated Conte's letter.
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. These states favour using the eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, as an instrument to share the economic burden of the Covid-19 crisis.