When the EU heads of state and government hold a video conference on Thursday afternoon for the third time since the outbreak of the Corona crisis, everything will be about dealing with the economic consequences. Nine member states around France, Spain, and Italy call for the introduction of corona bonds. The Federal Government, on the other hand, wants to grant loans from the ESM Euro Crisis Fund as a precautionary measure.
Above all, however, there is growing concern in Berlin that many a decision made in the Corona crisis can no longer be easily taken back after the exceptional situation has ended. Before the video conference of the European heads of state and government on the corona crisis on Thursday afternoon, the German government is, therefore, pressing for a clear exit strategy coordinated among the member states.
This should not only include a comprehensive and coordinated development program for the European economy, as requested by EU Council President Charles Michel. The Belgian speaks of a “marshal-like” investment program. Rather, the federal government demands that it also includes a roadmap for “gradual withdrawal of the extraordinary measures that have been taken”.
This emerges from an internal paper dated March 24, in which the German government lists its requests for changes to Michel’s conclusions for the video summit. The paper is available to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Newspaper. The European Commission should draw up appropriate proposals for this.
Long list of exceptions
The list of these “extraordinary measures” is already long and goes well beyond the question of corona bonds and the use of the ESM. It was only on Wednesday that the Commission presented new EU guidelines for protecting European companies from foreign takeovers – especially in the health sector. The EU state aid rules and budgetary rules have been effectively suspended. In fact, Member States’ violations of EU rules are temporarily not being pursued. In addition, the Commission has created exceptions in numerous other fields, for which it is already said within the authority that it will be difficult “to get some spirits back in the bottle”.
The Federal Government does not want to let another spirit out of the bottle. In his draft conclusions with a view to similar crises in the future, Michel also suggests improving crisis management within the EU, with greater ambition than before. To this end, he wants to create a new institution, a “European Crisis Management Center”. This is exactly what the Federal Government wants to delete from the conclusions. However, the idea of having your own center is also met with resistance elsewhere, not least in the EU Commission.