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There is an agreement in the Eurogroup: 500 billion euros "available immediately"

by ace
There is an agreement in the Eurogroup: 500 billion euros "available immediately"

Stephanie Lecocq / EPA

Eurogroup President Mario Centeno

Eurozone finance ministers reached an agreement this Thursday on economic support to deal with the covid-19 pandemic.

The Eurogroup has agreed on the economic aid package for the new coronavirus crisis. “The meeting ended with the ministers applauding”, announced Mário Centeno's spokesman on Twitter.

In the same social network, the French minister, Bruno Le Maire, said that an excellent agreement was reached at this Thursday's meeting, which guarantees “500 billion euros available immediately” and which provides for “a recovery fund” in the future. Paolo Gentiloini, European Commissioner for the Economy, also announced an agreement on “a package of unprecedented dimensions”.

Excellent agreement between European finance ministers on the economic reply #Coronavirus : 500 million euro available immediately. A fondness at a glance to come. Europe's décide and show off the gravity of the crisis.

– Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) April 9, 2020

Mário Centeno started tonight's press conference by stating that Eurozone finance ministers reached an agreement that has outlines that would have been “unthinkable” a few weeks ago.

Regarding measures for employment, it details the Observer, the president of the Eurogroup confirmed the creation of the SURE platform that will “complement the safety nets” existing in each country. According to Centeno, it will be 100 billion to strengthen the measures that already exist.

The minister also confirmed a "pan-European shield" provided by the European Investment Bank that will guarantee 200 billion euros for European companies, especially small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

Through the European Stability Mechanism, the “safety net for member states” will be ensured, which is equivalent to 2% of the GDP of each country, which in total represents 240 billion.

The country that needs to resort "will be subject to the European Union's surveillance mechanisms" and "the only commitment is that these funds have to be used directly for health care and care related to the pandemic", Mário Centeno said.

Giving the guarantee that the differences were overcome, Mário Centeno concluded with a guarantee: "We will endeavor to make these measures operational in the next two weeks".

This afternoon, the president of the Eurogroup published a video message on Twitter, in which he warned that, in this meeting, “there is a lot at stake”. "I urge all finance ministers to agree on a bold and ambitious plan to protect our economies in response to this common threat," he said.

Centeno also stressed that the objective is to adopt an unprecedented package that would constitute a “safety net” to protect workers, companies and the finances of nations.

Thursday's decision was made after several postponements, the last on Wednesday, the day the meeting was adjourned early in the morning after 16 hours of discussion. The meeting resumed today, at 20:30 in Lisbon.

Now, there is a meeting of the European Council, which could take place as early as next week. After the more technical phase of the agreement, political leaders – including Prime Minister António Costa – will discuss official ratification in the next few days.

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