Spanish PM outlines proposal for EU COVID-19 recovery fund

Madrid, April 26 (IANS) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has outlined his proposal for a European Union (EU) “reconstruction fund” to help the recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Sanchez set out his plan in an article published on Saturday in the Spanish financial affairs newspaper Expansion, saying that the fund “should reach all of the nations in need in the form of transfers”, reports Xinhua news agency.The Spanish leader highlighted that the EU needs more unity in the face of the crisis, and said his government would “work and act in union without leaving anyone behind”.

“We are all Europe, and now is the moment to show that,” he wrote, considering it to be “unforgivable if Europe repeated the errors of the past”.

He said he was happy the European Central Bank had taken “decisive action” to avoid “the fragmentation of the Eurozone and… permanent scars in the production sector”.

Despite these and other measures, Sanchez believes European leaders need to “take another step in line with the true magnitude of the challenge we are facing”.

He said a possible 10 per cent reduction in GDP for 2020 meant that “once the health emergency is over, we have to lay the foundations for a rapid, sustainable, fair and balanced recovery”.

Spain proposes “the joint emission of a perpetual bond”, which was “guaranteed by the European budget and using the EU’s resources to pay interest”.

The Spanish leader insisted that the “resources of this fund have to reach the nations most in need through transfers and not loans”.

“This is vital to avoid an uneven departure from the crisis with some nations deeply in debt and penalized by the financial markets… The essence of European unity cannot mean greater debts,” said Sanchez.

He expressed satisfaction that “Europe is taking steps in the direction that Spain wants: moving its resources in the necessary magnitude to allow faster, more united recovery”.

“You beat the coronavirus with sacrifice and unity, and the same is true for economic and social issues,” concluded the Prime Minister.

Spain currently accounts for the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world at 223,759, with 22,902 deaths.