We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
An Italian MEP delivered a scathing assessment of the EU’s attempt to help countries badly-hit by the coronavirus, claiming these were “not acts of love or solidarity but acts of opportunism”. Isabella Tovaglieri issued the furious attack on Brussels’ handling of the pandemic this week during a session in the European Parliament. She warned EU leadership that Italy will not trust the EU again after being abandoned and then exploited by Europe.
The attack came as MEPs debated how the European Union needs to help countries and tackle the current crisis.
Ms Tovaglieri said: “Based on the EU budget, we know the money will not come before next year. Far too late in other words.
“To recover, we need resources right away and not in the form of loans. Lending money to those who cannot automatically repay it is not an act of love or solidarity but an act of opportunism.
“I am referring to the ESM which was meant to be offered without conditionality.”
JUST IN: Coronavirus pandemic: Private labs pledge 10,000 daily tests
She continued: “But, two weeks on from the meeting, the truth is the ESM requires repayments of 4bn euros a year which means cuts to welfare and higher taxes.
“Italians will never this EU again. We don’t want to find ourselves back here again with a Commission President coming to the plenary to offer an apology for excessive austerity as we did in solidarity with our Greek friends.”
This last point is a reference to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen’s surprise apology to Italy for failing to show solidarity with the member-state in the early stages of the crisis.
There is growing fury at how badly-hit countries in southern Europe, namely Spain, Italy and France, have been traeted by wealthy northern states like Germany and the Netherlands.
The EU has offered up to 240 billion euros in special credit from its rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), to help states deal with the economic fallout from the virus.
However, on Friday, it was revealed that Spain would join Italy in avoiding these bailout funds “in all but a worst-case scenario”
Across southern Europe, the ESM is known as the bailout fund that imposed heavy austerity measures during the region’s debt crisis, particularly on Greece.
BBC Weather: Saharan blast sparks extreme heatwave across UK [VIDEO]
Teen tutors teach unions a life lesson, says CAROLE MALONE [COMMENT]
Coronavirus map LIVE: Police warning for vigilante attacks [LIVE BLOG]
In Italy, the Government has said it will not resort to the ESM as countries like France, Spain and Italy demand a different recovery fund worth up to one trillion euros.
These would be financed by the EU budget rather than by individual member state and provide grants instead of loans.
The virus has killed nearly 60,000 people in Italy and Spain and each country is forecast to suffer economic contractions of more than nine percent this year.
The 2021-2027 EU budget must be agreed on by the end of this year to become operational next January.
Source: Read Full Article