Eurogroup falls short of economic deal to fight #coronavirus․ #POLITICO
Even the coronavirus crisis failed to bring EU finance ministers together. Ministers failed overnight to agree on a coordinated EU strategy that would help protect the bloc’s companies and governments from the economic fallout of the pandemic. Divisions between factions led by Italy and the Netherlands proved too wide to bridge during the ministers’ online Eurogroup meeting, which lasted over 16 hours. The disagreements mainly emerged over conditions for credit lines from the eurozone’s bailout fund and the idea of pooling debt through so-called corona bonds, officials told POLITICO. Talks will resume Thursday in a bid to reach a package deal that ministers can present to leaders.“We came close to a deal but we are not there yet,” tweeted Eurogroup President Mário Ceteno, who chaired the marathon meeting between ministers, Wednesday morning. “I suspended the #Eurogroup & continue tomorrow." He added: "My goal remains: A strong EU safety net against fallout of #COVID19 (to shield workers, firms & countries) & commit to a sizeable recovery plan." A press conference planned for Wednesday morning has been canceled.The number of coronavirus cases around the world is approaching 1.5 million, with over 82,000 deaths. Italy has the highest number of fatalities in a single country, with over 17,000. Spain is second with around 14,000 deaths.