The European Union will use "all the necessary tools" to overcome the crisis of the coronavirus, announced on Tuesday the presidents of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Council, Charles Michel, after a videoconference with the leaders of All EU countries.
"We will use all the tools at our disposal to ensure that the EU is going through this storm," said the EC president at the end of the first European Council held telematically and devoted to the COVID-19 crisis.
Michel, meanwhile, moved his "sympathy with Italy and other EU Member States" affected by the virus and said that the capitals have agreed to act with a "joint approach and coordination."
For this, the Community Executive will interpret with maximum flexibility the fiscal rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, a message that goes in line with which Brussels transferred him to Italy last Sunday after Rome informed that his deficit would deviate at least from 2.2% expected to 2.5%, as a result of the measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Also in socio-economic key, the European Commission will allow State aid to be mobilized for companies that need it and a "coronavirus response fund" will be created to counteract the "great potential economic impact" of the health crisis.
This fund will be endowed with 7,500 million euros to provide liquidity to companies in the twenty-seven EU Member States and the willingness to provide it with up to 25,000 million euros.
"We have to act together and do whatever is necessary and act quickly," said the president of the European Council, an institution that represents the EU member states, after a telematic meeting of about three hours.
The teleconference, which took place after the Health Ministers of the twenty-seven Member States held two extraordinary councils in recent weeks to address the response to COVID-19, the last one last Friday, also served to agree that it will be reinforced coordination with daily conferences on Health and Home Affairs and "common guidelines" will be designed.
The capitals stressed the need to stop the spread of the virus because "the health of citizens is the priority", but stressed that "the measures must be proportional, so that they do not have excessive consequences on societies as a whole."
They also agreed to analyze the needs of medical equipment and propose "initiatives to prevent hardships" through tools such as joint tenders and pay special attention to "masks and respirators."
In addition, they pledged to "strengthen efforts" in research, an area for which the EC has already agreed to allocate 140 million public and private funds for treatments, vaccines and diagnosis and a team of epidemiologists from different Member States will be created.
"The most important thing is to slow down the spread," said the president of the European Commission, who advanced that the Executive will propose more measures at the Eurogroup meeting next Monday and, if necessary, leaders will discuss more tools in the next Council European to be held on March 26 and 27.
In addition to the President of the European Council and the Heads of State and Government of the EU countries, Von der Leyen participated in the digital summit, and the number one of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, the high representative for the EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, and the head of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno.