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Coronavirus crisis is EU’s biggest test since its founding: Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefs the media about German government's measures to avoid further spread of the coronavirus, on April 6, 2020 at the chancellery in Berlin. (AFP)

The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest test that the European Union has faced in its history, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday, stressing that Germany is “ready to contribute” to boosting the bloc. Coronavirus crisis


“In my view... the European Union stands before the biggest test since its founding,” Merkel told journalists ahead of a key eurozone finance ministers’ conference to draw up an economic rescue plan for the bloc.


“Everyone is just as affected as the other, and therefore, it is in everyone’s interest, and it is in Germany’s interest for Europe to emerge strong from this test.”


Discussions between EU leaders over what a possible aid package would consist of have been fraught with nations hardest hit in the health crisis pitted against economically stronger countries.


Italy, France, and Spain have been imploring Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands for common debt facilities to cushion the economic impact of the virus.


But conservative politicians in the north fear the plans would mean the eventual mutualization of all sovereign debts and their taxpayers footing the bill for supposed southern profligacy.


At Monday’s press conference, Merkel reiterated her government’s stance of activating the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund, which German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has said could be triggered “with no senseless conditions” to help struggling states.


But she made no mention of the controversial common debt facilities dubbed “coronabonds.” Coronavirus crisis


Merkel also said a lesson to be learned from the pandemic was that Europe needed to develop “self-sufficiency” in the manufacturing of crucial medical gear such as masks.


“Even though this market is presently installed in Asia... we need a certain self-sufficiency, or at least a pillar of our manufacturing” in Germany or elsewhere in the European Union, she said. levant


source: AFP levant