French and German leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel on Monday May 18 announced the creation of an interim EU economic recovery fund with an initial capital of €500 billion. Following consultations with the rest of the EU member states, this amount is expected to be at least doubled, which, together with measures already announced at the national and European levels, will make it possible to restart the European economy after the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need a recovery fund, and Germany and France have had intensive discussions about what such a fund could look like. This is to ensure that Europe comes out of this crisis in solidarity and solidarity. We know that the virus has affected our countries differently, and there is a threat to EU cohesion in terms of the impact of this virus on the economy,” the Chancellor of Germany said at a joint press conference.
“We are experiencing the worst crisis in the history of the European Union,” Angela Merkel recalled. “The virus knows no borders and has affected all of Europe,” Emmanuelle Macron supported her. According to both leaders (passing on the word to each other, they repeatedly expressed their agreement with the interlocutor), Paris and Berlin are interested in a strong European Union, so they came up with such an initiative. However, it is not the two European heavyweights who will have to decide where the money will be sent, but the European Commission: as an example, the French President cited the tourism industry in Italy as one of the most affected sectors. The list of industries that need help is expected to be worked out in detail in Brussels. At the same time, Europeans will have to think about how to invest in areas such as high technology or environmental safety in order to remain competitive in the future, rather than just catching up with the pandemic.
A joint press conference between the leaders of France and Germany was held as a result of negotiations held by video link. If previously two politicians would have stood up after the meeting behind small offices, this time each of them stood next to a large screen. “I hope that one day I can return to the Elysian Palace,” Angela Merkel admitted. But the journalists were invited to this press conference live, both in Paris and Berlin. They were not wearing masks or gloves, and they bravely passed the microphone to each other with their bare hands.