Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte calls on the European Union “not to make tragic mistakes” in the face of the coronavirus, otherwise “the entire European structure risks losing its raison d’être”, in an interview with the daily Il Sole 24 Ore published Saturday.
“Inertia would leave our children the immense burden of a devastated economy,” said the Prime Minister in the columns of the daily newspaper of reference for economic and financial circles. “We want to be up to this challenge? So let’s launch a big plan, a ‘European Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’, which supports and revives the whole European economy.”
At the European Council on Thursday, “more than a disagreement, there was a tough and frank confrontation” with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “because we are experiencing a crisis which is claiming a large number of victims in our fellow citizens and is causing a severe economic recession. “
“I represent a country that is suffering a lot and I cannot afford to procrastinate,” he observed, while Italy has registered more than 9,000 deaths since the arrival of the pandemic in the peninsula. “In Italy, but also in other member states, we are forced to make tragic choices.”
“We must avoid making tragic choices in Europe. If Europe does not rise to this unprecedented challenge, the whole European edifice risks losing, in the eyes of our own citizens, its reason for to be, “he warns.
During the European Council, “to my colleagues who reasoned in terms of MES (European Stability Mechanism, Editor’s note), I replied that there was no need to run out, because that is not what which we need now, “he said.
“The MES is an instrument developed to help member states facing financial tensions linked to asymmetric shocks. The coronavirus on the contrary is causing a symmetrical shock, with the effect of plunging into depression, synchronously and totally unexpected, our economic and social systems. “
Giuseppe Conte sees “something completely different from the 2008 crisis. We are at a critical time in European history”.
In this interview, he also confirms that with the decree in preparation for April, “our effort will amount (…) to well over 50 billion” of euros, including the 25 billion already mobilized.