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BRUSSELS — European Union leaders will hold emergency talks soon to discuss a joint response to the coronavirus, officials said on Monday, as the bloc’s executive considers relaxing state subsidy rules to allow extra public spending.
The announcement of the teleconference, likely to take place on Tuesday, came after Italy and France called for Europe-wide stimulus to counter the economic impact of the epidemic.
The spread of coronavirus from China across Asia, Europe and the Americas has caused huge disruption to business operations, supply chains and economic activity. Analysts say the world economy is headed for a sharp downturn, possibly a recession.
“Following consultations I will hold a EUCO members conference call shortly on COVID-19 to coordinate EU efforts,” tweeted Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits. “We need to cooperate in order to protect the health of our citizens.”
Separately, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday the bloc’s executive was considering all options to help the economy.
The commission was assessing conditions to grant flexibility to states in providing public subsidies to crisis-hit sectors, she added .
Temporary suspensions to the bloc’s state aid framework, which is meant to avoid unfair competition, were introduced after the 2008-09 financial crisis and let governments spend hundreds of billions of euros to bail out banks.RESOURCES SCARCEOn Saturday, Brussels effectively authorized Italy’s emergency measures to tackle the impact of the outbreak, using a waiver under EU fiscal rules that allows for more spending in exceptional circumstances.That flexibility will allow Italy, the worst-hit […]