Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday extended his feud about coronavirus money with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in the pages of a newspaper.
“Dear Ursula,” he wrote in a letter to La Repubblica, “I hear ideas (from you) not worthy of Europe. The decisions we make today will be remembered for years.”
He called for “more ambition, more unity and more courage” from the EU, in response to a letter from von der Leyen in the same paper on Thursday where she had promised more support for Italy.
Conte wants the whole bloc to share the risk by issuing billions of euros in so-called coronabonds, helping Italy to borrow more cheaply to fight a pandemic that has killed nearly 14,000 people and shattered the country’s economy.
Von der Leyen has sided with Germany and some other northern European countries, who argue that pooled risk could raise their borrowing costs.
She prefers an EU-wide guarantee that could raise 100 billion euros ($108 billion) for the specific purpose of helping national unemployment schemes.
Conte said he “welcomed” the EU’s initiative but made it clear that he still wanted the coronabonds.
“When fighting a war, you must do everything possible to win and equip yourself with all the tools needed for the reconstruction,” Conte wrote.
This required “innovative tools such as the European Recovery Bonds”.
He said the bonds were “useful to finance the extraordinary efforts that Europe will have to put in place” and “are in no way aimed at sharing the debt that each of our countries has inherited from the past”.
EU leaders failed to find a common response last week and gave their finance ministers until next Thursday to agree on something useful.
Source: AFP (edited by Al-Manar English Website)