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Europe Needs ‘Great Marshall Plan’ to Battle Pandemic Crisis: Italy

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President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission Photo: European Parliament / flickr. CC-BY-4.0.

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Italy’s economy minister has clashed with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen after she said that the EU is not planning to issue ‘corona bonds’ to help countries decimated by COVID-19.

“The commission president’s words were a mistake and I regret that she made them,” Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri told reporters at a news conference on Saturday, stressing that Europe needs “a great Marshall Plan” to keep its economy afloat, RT reported.

The historic Marshall Plan was a massive US-led economic aid package to rebuild Western Europe after the devastation of WWII. Italy proposed that Brussels issue so-called ‘corona bonds,’ a common debt instrument aimed at funding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made a significant dent in Europe’s economies by forcing businesses to shut down due to quarantine measures.

In an interview with DPA, von der Leyen did not rule out the idea of ‘corona bonds’ but said that they were “not the plan” the EU was working on. “The word corona bond is actually just a buzzword,” she said. The option was similarly dismissed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that creating ‘corona bonds’ was “not… the view of all EU countries.”

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Tasnim News Agency

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